Today we went to the Ben Tanh Market where I got to practice my bargaining skills. I’m not sure if I got scammed or not but I negotiated my way to getting a souvenir at half its original price. The last time I tried bargaining was when I was 15 in the Dominican Republic and I think this went a lot better. I’ve never had to bargain in the United States, I prefer having a set price on products because vendors are very stubborn and it annoys me. It’s also unfortunate that I don’t understand the value of the currency here so I never know if I’m being offered an unfair price or not. I also don’t want to state a very low price because sometimes the vendors get really angry that you think their products are worth a really low price. Today my friend was telling me that the vendor stated a price of 100,000 dong and he purposed 10,000 and she got very mad and started cursing him out. Culturally I feel like I’m just not used to the bargaining because the vendors are very confrontational and it doesn’t feel normal. Later that day we visited the war remnants museum which highlighted the Vietnam war. There were really cool vehicles out in front which were actual ones used in the war. The museum was extremely graphic and showed the consequences of the war and its after effects. The worst of them being the effects of Agent Orange used in the war. Agent Orange left behind a ton of genetic deformations and seeing all of them first hand was extremely off-setting. They also showcased the aggression of American GI’s during the war on Vietnamese civilians. This is one of the moments I hope we can forget about US history, because it does not paint a good picture of what we want to work towards as a country. I feel like it’s important to accept our failures and mistakes and move on.
Today, we also visited a Pagoda which is a Buddhist temple. I can vaguely remember one time when I was very young where I visited a Pagoda. This one was very intriguing, it had a giant statue of Buddha along with other paintings and pictures of the Buddha. The design of the Pagoda was really cool too, it was very vibrant. We also had a class today on the history of Buddhism. I was most excited for this class over all the other classes we had on this trip. The main takeaways of Buddhism according to the lecturer is that: life sucks, accept that life sucks, don’t want anything, and if you want anything then you will be sad because you won’t get it. This was definitely the most packed day we’ve had so far, it felt like the whole day went in one whole motion.
A haiku about the market:
Help I can't bargain
I will not buy your t-shirts
Please just let me browse >:(