So the experience of Vietnam is over... for now.
I will most certainly go back. The Vietnamese people had a real effect on me, more so than some of the other Asian cultures I have been privileged to spend time with since moving to Hong Kong. The Vietnamese are survivors, and have resisted every crude and naive attempt that has ever been made to conquer them. And there have been many.
But they have recovered with such grace and hospitality.
It's a beautiful place, and the people's passion for life and independence makes it shine even more so. It's also extraordinarily cheap - a few US dollars for a meal, and I was able to squeeze in more spa treatments and massages on my final few days than I have ever had in any one year!
Most of all, it was incredibly special to see family again and meet up with my dad and his girlfriend in Nha Trang. Living abroad is strange thing... while family are always missed and on your mind, when you don't see them you come to accept that you won't for some time. But when they are right there in front if you again, and it comes time to leave, it's heart crushing.
So after time in Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang beach, here are my top ten Vietnam moments - in no order!
1. Seeing and spending time with my dad, I love him so much!
2. Vietnamese food... milder and less complicated than Thai and Chinese, just simple, gorgeous, fresh flavours
3. The prices... while it's not good for the Vietnamese, when you are paying as a tourist, it's certainly a help to know your hard-earned pennies go far
4. Discovering the spirit of the Vietnamese people - they are friendly, sweet and quietly strong
5. Getting five spa treatments in three days... heaven
6. Walking through a 'couples' park each evening, where young lovers cuddle away from their parents in secret... so cute and so old school
7. Learning how to bargain at the markets and actually getting a good deal... by the last day!
8. Early morning walks along Nha Trang beach followed by a glorious hotel breakfast buffet
9. Being only a 2 hour flight from home... never had that luxury whilst living in pretty Sydney!
10. After-dinner drinks and laughs each night at the Sailing Club, with candlelit tables right on the beach... the way every evening should be!
I hope you had a wonderful week...