Day 11: Last day in Ho Chi Minh

We begin walking to a marketplace and are sidetracked to discover a decent playground. Ryder makes a friend-a little girl who says she’s five-not in English, which she doesn’t speak, but by holding her fingers up. There’s something pathetic about this little girl I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s that she follows me around with wide eyes-not begging, just seeming to want to interact with me. I don’t have any toys with me, so I give her a pretty hair scrunchie. Her dad orders her to leave. Later, I see her again, sitting with her dad in the bushes, lying on her back on his motorcycle with her feet around his waist, playing with the hair scrunchie. I ask her dad if she can come play with us again at the park. He says no. I walk away uneasy. In Vietnam, only the parents look after their children. The government and the community cannot, they’re too busy racing towards development. If the parents are inadequate there is no one to look over their shoulders.

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At the market, Ryder is accosted by all the vendors who think he’s adorable. I take a moment to teach him that spitting to get them to leave him alone is not the right way to respond, but to say “no thank you!” I am pleased to see him implement it straight away, though it doesn’t seem to make a difference with the vendors. I buy him a traditional Vietnamese outfit. He has far too many clothes for a backpacking toddler already, but I cannot resist this.

Upon arriving to our hotel, I am surprised to find a traveling family awaiting me-a friend of Jacob’s had sent them. We go to get a drink. They are from Seattle and have a five year old boy. Lost in conversation, I realize it’s almost time for our food tour to start.

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Ryder was under the table and unavailable for the picture 

I’m regretting booking it due to the pho I had the night before still grumbling angrily in my belly, but it’s too late to cancel. I walk back to the hotel and again, the driver is waiting for me. He, also, is in Families on the Move, our traveling family support network.

Ryder is an angel on the tour despite having had such a busy day with no nap. He loves riding the motorcycle, seeing a pugdog,

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getting a balloon from a rice seller,

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and trying the Vietnamese cookies. The food in Vietnam is incredible-I am looking forward to coming back with Jacob. I eat everything in spite of my belly-Vu the food tour guide (saigonstreeteats.com) has helped me get some medicine so I go for it. The medicine, whatever the heck it is, works.

Even though I’m beat getting back from the tour, there’s no avoiding it-Ryder is thrilled to play cars again with his new friend. They play together until I drag him away to take him to bed.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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