First Two Weeks in Vietnam
After our month in Thailand, we have now been in Vietnam for two weeks, and will be here for ten more. I’m excited to stay in one place for even longer to try to get to know it more, as I felt I was just starting to get comfortable in Thailand at the end of the month before we left.
We have only been in two places in Vietnam so far – Phu Quoc, the island John talked about in his last post, and now Ho Chi Minh City, staying with my high school friend and her boyfriend in their beautiful apartment in a very expat-y part of the city. It has been wonderful seeing old friends on this exotic-feeling trip.
Like John, I have also noticed how different Vietnam feels compared to Thailand, which is to be expected but is interesting to notice. It definitely feels less discovered by the outside world. The tourists and expats I do see have a different vibe to them, as if they are here for more serious business, and somehow seem more mature, not just here to party and vacation or seek the good life like it often felt like in Thailand. And the local people seem different……..not as full of smiles and open as in Thailand, and even in the large city, I get many more stares by both men and women, or so it feels. It is beautiful and exotic though, and each district (the city is divided into 24) promises so many things to explore……..a huge Chinatown, Little Japan, downtown, the War Remnants Museum, and so many small streets and alleys that feel much less explored by foreigners than in Bangkok.
We were very close to a possibly fatal scooter accident three nights ago, and it shook us all up greatly, and reminded me that developing countries are not simply affordable, undiscovered paradises……..the response time for help was infinitely slower than it would have been back home, and no ambulance ever came, just a pickup truck for a young man obviously suffering severe head and spine injuries. It was a wake-up call for me from over-idealizing an exotic, affordable way of life. No country is perfect, and the affordable cost of living comes with sacrifices in other areas of life.
But aside from this tragic night I am feeling very relaxed and also invigorated by this exotic and different country, and am looking forward to exploring it more over the next 2.5 months.