Today we started bright and early again with the Vietnamese breakfast buffet. We then took our tour bus to the UEF school and had a class on urban development. It was very interesting to learn about the history of the development of Vietnam, going from ancient history to today. After that, we sat with the Vietnamese students and they gave us a crash course on the Vietnamese alphabet and the six different tones of the languages. My Vietnamese friend took on the role of teacher with enthusiasm and was very encouraging, even though there were some letters that I still don’t grasp. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to recognize and replicate sounds that don’t exist in English.
After that, we drove to the Phu My Hung district of Ho Chi Minh city and went to a delicious Japanese restaurant, where we were served a meal of sushi and shrimp tempura. Then, we went to the Phu My Hung headquarters and met with a representative who talked to us about what it takes to construct a fully planned city. It was incredible to see how developed the area has become in a short twenty years. However, the majority of the residences in Phu My Hung are fairly expensive for the average Vietnamese person. It is good that there is development happening, but it does not appear to be completely sustainable, environmentally, economically, and socially. It is unclear whether there is much action being taken to improve the environmental protection of the area.
Overall, it was an incredible experience to be able to learn about how Ho Chi Minh city became what it is today.