Unfortunately, the torrential downpour this afternoon dampened our experience during the Ho Chi Minh city tour, and so we were not able to spend as much time observing the different landmarks in the city. I did, however, notice multiple signs of both development and globalization in the city. Firstly, a major signal of the country’s development is in District 1 of the city, where the high-rise Times Square Building is located. In this building is a six-star hotel called the Reverie Saigon. In the area are many other high-end hotels and a few other high-rise buildings, including the Bitexco Financial Tower. Also in the area, many big-name companies such as Adidas have opened up stores demonstrating the globalization taking place in Vietnam.
The Welcome Dinner was an amazing experience that gave us great views of Ho Chi Minh from the Saigon River and a great meal, however there were a few surprising things about the meal. Firstly, the portions of the meal were served on one big plate for the whole table rather than each person getting their own plate of food. This threw me off a little, as it isn’t something you really experience when eating out in the United States. This is something I remember reading about in the LearnSmart. Another thing that surprised me was when we were served the hot pot, we were given raw meat that we had to cook ourselves including full shrimp with the heads and eyes on. In the United States, it’s not common that a restaurant serves raw meat, and has you cook it yourself. I had also never been served a full shrimp before and so seeing the full shrimp was a little weird to me. None of the cultural differences I noticed during the dinner deviated much from what was talked about in the LearnSmart.