I cross the border from Cambodia to Vietnam nervously, ready to be ripped off at any moment, and frightened that I’m going to find my animal friends in every dish that I order.
I first visited Vietnam seven years ago, and I have memories of scams and hostility towards travellers. I wondered why it was like this, and decided that with the history of the US invasion, why wouldn’t people act with hostility towards seemingly spoilt western backpackers?
The only reason that I’ve returned to Vietnam is because my friend Conor lives here. Conor left Ireland on a trip across the world two years ago, and I last saw him in France, at the very beginning of his journey. He’s been teaching English for a year in the city of Vung Tau, in the south of Vietnam.
I arrive at Conor’s home in Vung Tau in the evening. It’s strange, but wonderful, for us both to be reunited after two years. I think about how beautifully unpredictable life can be: when I said goodbye to Conor in France, I didn’t dream that I would be visiting him in Vietnam (and nor did I dream that he’d be gone for over two years!)