Today marked our first full day of travel in Vietnam. We started off the morning with an incredible welcoming from the Vietnamese students at The University of Economics and Finance (UEF) which included an array of dancing, singing, and slightly embarrassing
games. From here we had the opportunity to get fitted for custom suits or other dress clothes, picking from a selection of styles and colors all for outrageously cheap prices. The days main event was a tour of the city conducted partially by bus and partially on foot. We saw an array of incredible buildings, including the famous Post Office; and spent some time in a bustling city market with an vast display of goods. I jumped on the opportunity to buy fried chicken heads in the name of trying new things (#wheninnam), and was pleasantly surprised to find they weren’t only edible, but delicious! Another highlight of our tour was our energetic and entertaining guide, Johnny, who managed to keep the entire experience both educational and interesting. In the bigger picture, I was impressed by the sheer number of cranes and construction processes occurring in the city and the clear push for improved urban development.
To wrap up the night, we dined at an authentic Vietnamese restaurant, Nhà Hàng Ngon, with dishes containing a variety of vegetables, rice, and seafood. Going in to the meal, I was quite concerned about the variety of social expectations that go in to such a dinner (including how to hold chopsticks and when to eat certain dishes), but in the end, none proved to be an issue. One of the UEF students displayed how to properly eat every every food item, including which sauces were recommended and which we should avoid. Though I completely enjoyed this dinner, I actually preferred the catered lunch we had at the UEF school.
Overall, this first day in Vietnam was everything I could expect and more; I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store!