Instead of writing a long post this time (one is coming) I am going to make a list that encompasses my discoveries of the past few days:
1. Uber works in foreign countries. Uber also won't scam you. Duh.
2. The best part of traveling alone is that you can wake up in the morning and say "I feel like I should leave here today," for no logical reason, totally changing your plans last minute. And you don't have to explain that to anyone.
3. It is possible, in fact, to take a 13 hour overnight bus, book a full day tour that starts the same time the bus is supposed to arrive, and make it there on time. And then take a flight somewhere else that same night. You'll also be extremely exhausted.
4. Sometimes, when your clothes are muddy, damp, they smell, and you've been sweating and sleeping in the same outfit for the past 3 days, it is worth it to pay $12 for someone else to do your laundry.
5. Apparently, sometimes I actually need and appreciate the comforts of home (surprise!) I will admit that bacon and French toast instead of rice for breakfast was more than a little bit enjoyable.
6. On that note, don't order a burger in Vietnam.
7. When your lunch costs $9 instead of $1 you get to eat it in a place that's like a spa and you get treated as if you were a billionaire. They put my napkin on my lap for me...
8. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from being in a country long enough to understand when someone is ripping you off. Even when it's the manager of your hostel who's trying to charge you double for a taxi. And especially when you use your Vietnamese phone number to call somewhere else and have them pick you up, for the correct price.
9. Sometimes, the difference between cultures is extremely frustrating, more so if you are hungry and tired. Especially when people are pushing and shoving and repeatedly cutting in front of all the lines, talking very loudly, and when giving other people no personal space is the norm. And that can be really challenging. And you are a guest in someone else's country, so you have absolutely no right to react to that.
10. While having a big mark on your head is barely looked at twice up north, it won't fade as soon as it's supposed to and people everywhere else will stare at you. People will also noticeably be not as friendly, especially Westerners. This is an uncomfortable discovery for many reasons.
ALSO this soup is the BEST thing I have eaten in all of Vietnam and it's so good that I've had it twice within the past 24 hours. And it costs approx $1.50