Today, we got to go on a city tour of Ho Chi Minh and experience a bit of what this amazing city has to offer. It was very interesting driving down the roads here, not just because of the hundreds of motor bikes and the medical masks everyone wore. What really caught my eye was the mixture of buildings. There were tall new looking buildings that easily could have been from New York City mixed in with small rickety looking buildings in need of a coat of paint or a roof repair. These structures seemed to show the transition Vietnam is currently going through, with its development happening so rapidly the old buildings still remain, but newer more modern ones are popping up daily.
Another interesting contrast was the market of Vietnam complete with fried chicken heads and herbal remedies a couple of streets from a Popeyes and Dunkin Donuts. This represents again Vietnam’s interesting position in its development, a relatively globalized country with many old traditions intact.
Dinner tonight was very interesting, with a multitude of courses being served one after another. There was a lot of shrimp, like the Culture Smart book predicted and a lot of foods I had never tried before. The only differences between the dinner that we ate and what the Culture Smart book said about dining was seriousness of the dining rules. The UEF students seemed to eat most of with their fingers or the chopsticks and didn’t mind or notice if we ate something differently. In general the UEF students seemed to not notice or adhere to a lot of the “rules” in the culture book, especially those against touching others, eye contact, smiling, and taking very loudly. Overall they were extremely friendly and enthusiastic, which helped my first day in Vietnam be an overall success!
Until next time,