It is SO different here. So different.
The moment we got off the plane you could feel how different it was from any other place I've ever been. Saigon is a big city and not dirt roads like I'd imagined. BUT at the same time, it is amazing how you can mix traditional cultures with more modern concepts. The main street here in Saigon is lit up with lights in celebration of Christmas.
There are people on motorcycles, scooters, and bikes EVERYWHERE. Not just people on motorcycles...entire families on one motorcycle....families of four or five with babies standing up between the parents. There don't seem to be any road laws whatsoever and everyone just goes every which way...and yet, it all works. Crossing the street is a daunting task but after awhile, you get used to it. There are street vendors every few feet, women walking around wearing Vietnamese straw hats, "non la" and carrying baskets over each shoulder selling fruit. The markets are mixed with clothes, shoes, purses, coffee, tea, food, drinks, fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fresh fish still alive in little bowls.
My haggling skills are improving as is my ability to communicate in Vietnamese. I thought I would be slower at speaking and understanding, but I have made out fairly well, although it is still obvious I was not born and raised here.
Tomorrow we leave for a tour of other parts of Vietnam, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.
I am seeing things for the very first time I've heard about all my life. Trying tropical fruits I have only seen pictures of. Experiencing the culture first hand and being a part of it. So cool.
Other quick updates:
- The earthquake in Taipei affected the internet service here, so pictures are a bit behind.
- Unlike Hong Kong where the weather was moderate, it is hot and humid here.
- Flip flops, tank tops, and capris in December? :)
- Mosquito bites, stickiness and sweat? :(
- I believe I have single handedly improved Vietnam's economy in the last few days with all my shopping.
- After going to a theme park and not seeing the usual foods....I have a mad craving for french fries and buttered popcorn. Who knew buttered popcorn was an American thing? Not me.
- The food is SO GOOD
- Getting to see where my parent's grew up, went to church, went to school, and the paths they took back and forth was amazing.
- I will be so shocked if I get out of here without having a heart attack from crossing the street or sitting in a taxi.
- Pictures will be updated if internet connection cooperates throughout the rest of Vietnam. If not, next week from Thailand.