Day 1: The Warmest of Welcomes

Weather of Day 1 in Ho Chi Minh City: high of 97 degrees with an average of 80% humidity . The ceremony hosted this morning by the University of Economics and Finance was very welcoming and allowed us to make friends super quickly with all the UEF students. After we finished some games and dancing we began learning the Vietnamese language. Thankfully they were patient enough to allow us to consistently mess up pronunciations. After class and lunch, our city tour began.

During our city tour we got off the air-conditioned bus to visit the Saigon Central Post Office. When touring the post office, from the outside it just looked like a very fancy building which is fairly normal for a post office but when you entered the building, it was even more beautiful. There were crowds of people and vendors and small shops to buy little trinkets. This was the first time we encountered this in the country so far so it was remarkable. The most notable factor of the situation was the fact that all the vendors and crowds of people were in a post office; that is very abnormal when compared to the U.S.

When touring the city, there was a noticeable difference between businesses such as small shops and vendors to corporate businesses. Since both of these are prevalent in the city, it shows that there is development within the city still taking place. The small shops are the base for the corporations slowly building their way into the cities. We saw countless small open shops throughout the city but the skyline of Saigon as we were on a boat displayed a gorgeous city skyline of tall buildings and flashing lights.

The Welcome Dinner that took place on the boat consisted of traditional Vietnamese food with a family style of sharing. Although this isn’t very common in the U.S. it is very common for the Vietnamese to serve food in this way. There were a few foods in which I was skeptical about but thanks to a few of the students from UEF, they were able to explain what everything was so I was less nervous about trying it.

In the CultureSmart text, there was little difference in the food we were served compared to the food discussed. Also, although there is a section of “Travel: Getting Around,” there was no mention of the massive amounts of motorbikes that overtook roads and sidewalks. We experienced a lot on our first day in the city but there is so much more for us to explore in the next 13 days so who knows what more we will learn about this culture in that time.

One Comment Add yours

  1. DeAnna Barton says:

    Wow honey very exciting! Looks like there city is beautiful

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