With Saturday afternoon upon us, Andrew and I packed up our bags and prepared to leave the hostel in time for our 6:30 pm, overnight train. As we were getting ready, the hostel owners (both Vietnamese) asked us where we were headed. They must have expected the answer of Hanoi or Ha Long Bay because their heads turned with surprise and a bit of confusion when we replied "Ninh Binh". They asked us why we were going there with equal parts doubt and curiosity in their voice. Andrew and I explained our plans and they still looked at us with blank stares which were slightly disheartening. I didn't want to let their ignorance destroy my anticipation so I decided to ignore their reaction and look forward to what was in store.
I was warned that I'd either love it or hate it. For some Vietnam is a food and adventure paradise while others just can't seem to find their grove. With a turbulent history and remains of division between north and south, it's an interesting place to say the least.