For the last two years, every time we've made friends with anyone, we've had to part ways almost immediately afterwards. In fact, before Pete and Natasha, we'd only twice had the good fortune of being able to spend more time with the cool people we've met during our travels. Unfortunately, today is another day for parting.
Even though we'll continue on the same route behind our friends, the chances of us catching them again are pretty much nil. They're taking a train to Hanoi this afternoon, and, after staying for a few days, they'll head west into Laos.
By the time they've left Vietnam, we'll just be departing from Hội An, pedaling slowly northwards. When we make it to Laos, the last new country of our adventure, they'll likely have returned to Bangkok and flown home to Tennessee.
For the last two months, Pete & Natasha have become a fixture in this chapter of our adventure. From going on a mini cycle-tour in Cambodia, to being rescued from homesickness in Vietnam, to trying betel, to hanging out and doing nothing at all … Southeast Asia is simply more fun when they are around. We're going to miss them.
Hugging our friends this afternoon, we wish them well for the next stage of their journey. Then, we head out for a walk, leaving them behind to wait for the bus to take them to the train station. As we amble around the old town, hand in hand, we both feel a little blue. We're having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that we won't be seeing them again in a week or so.
Now, there's a sucky little void where the anticipation of our next meeting used to be. We console ourselves with the fact that, for the first time in the history of our travels, we met and connected with people who live in the same country as us. We will definitely be able to hang out in the foreseeable future.
Our walk in Hội An is a pleasant one. There is plenty of awesome architecture to take in, as well as craft workshops and art galleries. There are also dozens upon dozens of coffee shops in which to slowly sip a beverage and read a book, watching the occasional rusty bicycle creak by.
For now, kicking back in the breezy old town will have to wait until tomorrow. We have a mountain of journals to write, overflowing inboxes to attend to, and family to Skype with!