“What’s the difference between the express bus and the VIP bus?” we ask. “Same same”, comes the answer. Well except for the fact that the express bus has no windshield wipers, is air-conditioned by driving with the door open and does not include lunch, but no one tells you that! “Same same” is a common saying in SE Asia and a bit of a joke amoungst travelers but locals recognize the humour of it as well. The saying has become available at almost every T-shirt shop. These two T-shirts that I bought at the market are the “same same” size but only one fits.
In some places like Hoi An, its always “Happy Hour”. Someone will walk up to you at a coffee shop in the morning trying to sell you a newspaper. Its odd enough that street vendors will approach a customer in a cafe but if you say no to the newspaper, they will say “happy hour, half price”. Doesn’t matter that the paper is in Vietnamese and we don’t speak or read the language. Walking in the market and through the streets its happy hour all day!
“Where you from?” sounds innocent enough and sometimes they really mean it. But often it is an opener for selling you something or touting you to a restaurant. Its kind of sad because some people are genuinely just curious about where you are from but you can never really be sure. So with time we have become more callous to that question.
“Madame, motobike?” is almost a mantra in SE Asia. Bicycles are becoming fewer as more people can afford motorbikes. Almost everyone wants to give you a ride, for a fee of course. When I am pushing Kasenya in her wheelchair I am always tempted to take them up on it. I have seen three butchered hogs on the back of a motorbike as well as furniture of all descriptions including a fridge. Whole families can get onto a motorbike. I have seen as many as five people on one. Physically disabled children get to school by being sandwiched between their two parents on a motorbike. So when they say “Madame, motobike?” to a woman walking with a child using a wheelchair I don’t doubt the sincerity of the offer.
Bissky Dziadyk Family
Travelling the world as a family since 2008.
In September 2008 our family embarked on a four month journey through South East Asia. Traveling with a child who uses a wheelchair presented its challenges, but following the Mekong River through China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with a wheelchair was truly an adventure.
When we move beyond our fears and embrace our dreams, the Universe has an odd way of not only supporting us but giving us more opportunities than we ever imagined. Embarking on a journey with an open heart we can not help but be changed forever by the experience. Indeed it would be a waste to return untouched in the spiritual realm.
September: China (Beijing, Xi’an,Kunming, Yuanyang)
October: Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay) and
Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane)
November: Southern Vietnam (Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)
December: Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot and Sihanoukville).