Crazy Cars and Relaxing Resorts

Day 6: 5.11.19

Despite leaving bright and early at 6 am, we got stuck in traffic as we were leaving Ho Chi Minh City. In the U.S., cars merely sit bumper to bumper and inch along. Here, I wasn’t so surprised to see the mopeds getting off the road to continue driving on the sidewalk but I was shocked to witness whole cars driving over the curb to follow the mopeds. To be completely honest, it was of one the most memorable sights of this trip so far.

A car driving off the road and onto the sidewalk

Over the course of the couple hours we spent on the bus and in between naps, I noticed key differences between the city and the rural towns. The buildings were shorter and more run down outside of the city, which makes sense because there were local shops and residences instead of company towers and high rise apartment buildings.

I found the roofs of the buildings to be particularly interesting. I mainly saw thatched roods, over “cafes” that had rows upon rows of hammocks, and roofs made up of sheets of tin. Something that I found odd was that there was one really nice building about every mile or so that looked like a house and often had fancy gates, but they always looked out of place compared to the smaller, almost primitive buildings surrounding them. The one major similarity that the outskirts shared with the city was the plots of land that appeared to be deserted construction projects, a probable result of lack of funding.

Another noteworthy sight we passed was a “Hand Operating Tool Training Center.” While I’m not entirely sure what that entails, I believe it’s a sign of Vietnam’s development as they continue to transition from an agricultural workforce to factories that produce more complicated products such as semiconductors.

The beach resort in Vung Tao was a pleasant change of pace. Overall, it was in line with my expectations of a resort, with adorable straw umbrellas and an infinite pool that had cool tubs instead of hot tubs. Lunch was delicious, no surprise there, and while I normally crave something chocolately for dessert, the watermelon and pineapple was refreshing. It was amazing to be back on a real beach, and I’m happy to be able to say I’ve been in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean, it was even worth getting stung by what I’m assuming was a jellyfish.

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