Day 5 and I’m still alive! That’s right folks I have yet to be hit by a motorbike that has gone rouge onto the sidewalk (although we’ve gotten close a few times). Here is the scoop for what happened today; we wokeup, visited the U.S Consulate, had lunch, attended culture and language classes, had dinner, and then went to a water puppet show!
During our visit to the Consulate, I learned that a Consulate is different than an Embassy because Embassies are exclusively in a country’s capital city while Consulates can be elsewhere. At the Consulate, we had a fascinating presentation about the Consulate’s roles and their relationship with the Vietnamese. The roles of the Consulate are to advocate for laws that would benefit both Americans and Vietnamese people in the country, help American citizens living in the country (legal issues), and create a better relationship between America and Vietnam. The economic relationship between the two countries is also very unique because the United States is skilled at developing new products, and therefore they invest a lot of money into countries where labor is much cheaper to produce them. Vietnam is now exploding with economic growth because of all the foreign investment.
Eventually, Vietnam is predicted to develop economically to the point where it will no longer produce its own goods, and it will start to invest in other lower cost countries (most likely Bangladesh). This cycle will continue, and then the fourth industrial era will likely occur. It was an illuminating discussion, and I thought that it was notable that Vietnam citizens give Americans a 92% approval rating. This is the impression that I get from spending time with the local people, but it was nice to see it reflected in actual data.
The other big highlight was seeing a Vietnamese water puppet show! Even though the narrators spoke only in Vietnamese, I was able to get a good sense of all the stories through the puppets’ actions. The humorous moments also translated very well, and I always knew when to laugh. If you are very confused about what I am talking about, then you can google a water puppet show. I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone, but some of the acts have incredible titles including, “On a Buffalo with a flute,” “Unicorns play with ball,” and “Agriculture.” Perhaps those tickle your fancy. I enjoyed the traditional music, set design, and the grand finale where sparks fly (it is my featured image). It was a 10/10 experience and it was worth the 150,000 VND.
I need to go to go to sleep early today because tomorrow is BEACH DAY! – whoop, whoop, and for that we all have to wake up at 5:00 a.m.