Hiking to Jesus 5/11/19

What’s not to like about hiking to a huge statue of Jesus and then going to the beach? Exactly. This day started at the crack of dawn (5 a.m. to be exact) when I rolled out of bed and started packing for what was about to be the best day ever. The bus ride was a total of three hours long, and NOTHING could have prepared me for what I saw during the ride. Yesterday I made a joke about how the motorbikes will go up on the sidewalk. Today was that on steroids. While still in the city we got into a traffic jam, and almost immediately all of the bikers picked up their motorbikes and kept going on the sidewalk. I’m not talking about just one or two motorbikes; I’m talking about hundreds. Then the cars started driving up onto the sidewalk, and it was chaos. I would not want to be a pedestrian because it was more dangerous on the sidewalk than it was in the actual street. The next unusual thing that I observed was at the rest stop/ gas station. It was a group of full-grown men all staring at us through the bus and waving and blowing kisses. I blew some kisses back, but I have never been in a situation like this before where crowds of adults were treating us like celebrities. My last discovery was not as charming. We were driving to our destination, and as we passed through a resort town, I noticed that one of the stores had swastika symbols on it. I wish I could read what the restaurant was called, but it seemed like the symbols were being used as decorations because they were all along some wood paneling lining the bottom of the restaurant windows. This begs the question, how digitally connected are the people of rural Vietnam, and do they know what that symbol means to many people in the west? The good news is that right after the bus ride, I got to meet a huge statue of Jesus. Everyone says that first impressions are crucial, but by the time we got up to the statue, my classmates and I were looking pretty wilted. Hopefully, Jesus was able to look past my sweaty exterior. The hike up was beautiful and worth traumatizing my weak leg muscles. I just wish that it wasn’t so darn hot. Then, it was beach time! Nothing felt better than going into the cold tubs. That’s right, in Vietnam it’s too hot to have hot tubs, so they have cold tubs. A little food for thought. The beach was great, and I was finally able to catch up on some reading. Sammy, if you are reading this, I am now 75% of the way through the book we are reading.  Things were peachy until the heavens opened up and started pouring an unholy amount of water. Luckily, we only had thirty minutes left on the beach before we needed to start heading back. That’s where I am right now – on the bus reflecting on an amazing day! I am exhausted from the hike and being in the hot sun (Yes mom, I wore my sunscreen). That’s all for today folks!

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