I’m saving all my words for Vietnam so no greeting this time. It’s going to be very hard to describe all 3 weeks we spent in Vietnam in one short email, but I’m giving it a shot (if anyone values brief communication, it’s me). Although we stayed at seven very unique places (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Na Trang, Saigon) I definitely see general themes and characteristics that ring true for Vietnam as an entire country. These include 1.Insane/Incredible Traffic; 2.Karaoke; 3.Interesting Food; 4.Unique Transport; 5.Football (soccer); 6.Contrast.
1.Traffic – I know why they don’t shoot car chase scenes in Hanoi, because it would be pretty uneventful when the hero crosses to the wrong side of the road weaving through cars going the wrong direction and pulls up on a family of 3 on a scooter doing the same exact thing while transporting their chickens to the day market. Traffic in Vietnam mirrors the ocean where the whales (buses) and big fish (cars) cruise along without a worry while all the minnows (motorbikes) jock for every square inch of space and dip a dodge their way to their destination.
2.Karaoke – Vietnamese love karaoke and will always invite you to enjoy these private rooms of bad singing, fruit plates (sometimes flying), and endless snacks and drinks.
3.Food – If it is alive, it can be eaten in Vietnam (with one exception, human), and the more obscure the more of a delicacy it is. I’m very proud of our American stomachs (and tongues!) through everyone of these cultural delights/fear factor challenges.
4.Transport – woven boats the shape of a rice bowl, bicycle and human rickshaws, tuk tuks, 3 person bicycles. They’re all fun
5.Football – this sport is everywhere (except America), especially Vietnam.
6.Contrast – contrast is seen in Vietnam on so many levels. The people have a huge contrast in personality between their tough-negotiating, thick-skinned business owner/vendor vs. their warm, welcoming, friends as family hospitality shown to outsiders who are willing to connect. The country is a great contrast between old world tradition, craftsmanship, and practice vs. new generation modernization, tourism, and technology. If I give more examples, I’ll have to make a sublist in this list which would just be confusing so on to the pictures:
North Vietnam with our crew of 5.
South Vietnam with the remaining 3 munchskateers.
Cambodia will be coming soon! Until then, eat something crazy…
Love and Wahoo’s fish sandwiches,