Day 1: Today I ate a great breakfast at our hotel, The Victory Hotel, met up with some students from the University of Economics and Finance, started learning the Vietnamese language, took a tour around the city via bus and walking and had a very filling, multiple course meal at Nhà hàng Ngon. The dinner was really nice, even if I had never seen some of these dishes before. During the meal, we had to use something called rice paper to wrap up multiple ingredients into a roll of sorts. While it was a little chewy, it was very delicious.
On the tour, I could really see Ho Chi Minh city for what it was: beautiful and filled with culture. The city was filled with buildings along with other sorts of old structures, like the building that a helicopter flew off of during the Vietnam War in the incredibly famous war photo. One thing that really stood out to me was how religion was involved. There are many different religions, from Christianity, to Confucianism, to Coconutism. One thing I did not know was that in Vietnam, many different types of people follow a form of spirituality, despite if they are even atheist.
One could tell from just walking around that Vietnam is a consistently growing city, on a large scale. First off, there were many large skyscrapers being built, such as hotels, office buildings and even universities. Vietnam also has a growing number of global restaurant chains that can be commonly seen at home, such as Popeye’s and Dunkin Donuts!
I think my first day in Vietnam, while tiring, was a great success. I learned many different things of Ho Chi Minh City, met a bunch of new people, and enlightened myself to experiences I would have never had before. If there is one thing to look out for however, it’s the fact that not everything written in books like our Culture Smart books is set in stone. The book provided a lot of precaution when dealing with the locals, with hand motions and dinner practices, however I’ve discovered that some of this may be wrong. Its better to experience everything for yourself first hand. Well this is me signing off for the first day, and I can’t wait to enjoy the rest of the trip!