Dispatches from the Orient – Vietnam


A Barge on the Song Sai Gon

I have a lot of pictures that things to of Vietnam so far.  I’d like to keep my writings more focused than usual on a particular theme for any given post.

And while many of these writings will be about places new to me and many of you, I will also use this blog to write about all of my travels that are distinctly of a non-nautical nature, whether they be in North America, Asia or Europe.

I find Vietnam incredibly fascinating.

First Impressions:

  • I really admire the people, I have never been in a place where everyone seems to work all the time and still be pleasant doing it. My days are full of smiles and pleasant interactions.
  • The Vietnamese people I’ve run across have been the friendliest I’ve ever met. Much like Ireland, but maybe a better comparison is Latvia. Another place with incredibly friendly people and speaking an incomprehensible language.  Oh, I’ve learned a few words, just a few, but with my non-musical brain, the words I think I am saying and what others hear are pretty much mutually exclusive.
  • My hotel is just 20 minutes south of the airport and about 30 minutes west of “downtown”. A great location. HCMC aka Sai Gon, is much like NYC, a city of neighborhoods. Pretty much everything I need or want can be had within a 15-minute walk. The only disagreeable moment occurred when I was “downtown”, in District 1.  The place where Trip Advisor and that ilk tell everyone they must go and as expected my experience is just the opposite.  The one place I will not return.
  • They actually make things here. In fact, they seem to rebuild everything.  There is remarkedly little trash. And everyone seems to be working literally from dawn to dusk (and later).
  • Nothing is thrown away. The little sacks of garbage that are picked up periodically seem full of inedible things and a little plastic. These people would probably build a whole new civilization with all the crap Americans throw away in a week.
  • IF there are no free seats on the bus, a young person always insists I take their seat.
  • Air Conditioning on the buses works better than in New York City buses and I am sure the buses cost 1/100th
  • Costs are even better than anticipated. Bus costs 20 cents. The three of us has a 6-course dinner for $19 the other day, yesterday it was $15. This is very typical.  My lunch today was $0.90. Yes, less than a US dollar.
  • Foods are as tasty as one would expect.
  • There are a million coffee places and the iced coffee is like the old days in NYC, strong and good. (Not like today where Starbucks gets people to pay $7 for a glass of water with coffee color)
  • HCMC is full of trees and motorcycles.

Upcoming:

  • A city of motos and scooters and I am the only pedestrian.
  • How to cross the street and live to tell about it.
  • A Worker’s Paradise where everyone works

 

 

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