Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam
Day 22: Spending Thanksgiving in a Chinese Fertility Clinic in Cambodia
Remember my previous post when I had mentioned meeting Kurt and Sarah, the American’s who owned an egg donation clinic in China? Well yeah. Let’s talk about that.
Last night was a long one, with the bloody guy and all that, but this morning we rose bright and early regardless. Today is Thanksgiving, the day we go to Vietnam! But first, that fertility thing. Kurt had told us that he was a part owner of an egg donation clinic in China. He said he essentially “recruits” women to set up a profile, fly to China and spend about a month or so going through the egg donation process to sell eggs to families who can’t conceive children. Your housing and flight is paid for, and they pay you $6,000 in the end.
SIGN. ME. UP.
Bri, Kaitlin and I had all previously considered egg donation in the states, so when Kurt mentioned it, we were the ones who asked him for all of the details. He seemed like a stand-up guy; he was from Washington D.C. which made him seem reputable. Heck, I even had a Facebook mutual friend with him! Small world.
Fast forward to the night of the bloody guy
After the bloody guy incident, I laid in bed for hours, doing research on egg donation. On Thanksgiving (the next morning) we had an appointment to go to a Chinese fertility clinic (in Cambodia) with Kurt to get tested and see how “fertile” we were. I, being the paranoid person I am, went so far down the world wide web tunnel that, by the time I went to sleep, I was convinced that we were actually going to get sold into sex slavery.
Kurt must be a monster. He couldn’t be trusted, could he?
Sex slavery is not my desired career path…
The morning of Thanksgiving
After we got dressed and packed, Bri and Kaitlin tuk tuked off to the clinic with Kurt to get tested. I wimped out and decided not to go. I had the address of where they were supposedly going and I was tracking Bri’s phone. Someone had to stay behind to send out the search parties if they went missing.
Of course, everything went smoothly and they actually went to a real fertility clinic to get tested. (What actually happened at the clinic is something only they can tell you, not me). When they came back to the hostel we gathered our belongings and piled into the crappiest van to head off to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
FYI, you might hear me refer to Ho Chi Minh and Saigon. They are the same place. It has two different names for some reason.
My view of Vietnam before I went there
For some reason, I had built up this image in my head that Vietnam was a scary place. I had heard that pick-pocketing and purse thefts were frequent and that the Vietnamese people were mean to Americans. Little did I know, some of my greatest life memories would be made in Vietnam.
The 6 hour van ride to Vietnam was packed tight and the late night border crossing was confusing and a bit scary. They made us get out of the van multiple times as we crossed the border. However, once we entered the city, my whole dark view of the country completely changed. Ho Chi Minh is a large city, and possibly one of the cleanest I have seen, especially in comparison to Bangkok, Thailand. There were a million flashing lights, shopping centers and high rises – I felt like I was entering a combination of Las Vegas and New York City.
There will be more posts on my adventures in Vietnam, but we’ll start it with this. After dropping our bags at the hostel, we spent our first night on Bui Vien street, drinking Saigon beer and people watching. There were so many street performers, mobile vendors and just plain oddities.
It was exciting.
And it was only the beginning.