Seeing the City and Enjoying the Welcome Dinner

Getting to my first glimpse at the dense behemoth that is Ho Chi Minh City for the first time was truly a unique and unforgettable experience. After the wonderful welcome ceremony in the morning, I was left wondering what could possibly top it, but seeing just the way the people of the city operated in their everyday lives might have done just that. Having only ever really taken the time to explore the city of Pittsburgh, I do not know if I could be experiencing a more different place. For starters, every building here is so compact and close together that gives it a cluttered feel that at the same time is manageable and almost feels like a filing cabinet where everything has it’s distinct place. The main signs of globalization and development in the city were both the presence of skyscrapers and the new subway system that is currently being built. The sheer size of some of the skyscrapers allows them to almost act as pillars of development that show the rest of the world that the Vietnamese have arrived in a big way. The new subway being developed shows that the city is looking to cut back on the pollution caused by what seems like an infinite quantity of motorbikes lining both the streets and sidewalks. The welcome dinner was great and featured mostly dishes that I expected and was expecting, including fish, chicken, rice, and spring rolls. The only thing that caught me off guard was how the food was presented to the whole table, one round at a time, instead of having personal plates. Also I just have to mention how good the band was on the ship at creating a pleasant and welcoming environment. Nothing really stood out to me as being drastically different from the culture smart book but I really wish I would have paid more attention to the part where it said using chopsticks was a must have skill. I look forward to tomorrow where we are taking a trip to my group’s business of focus, Phu My Hung, should be a great learning experience.

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