Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vietnam - General Impressions by Carrie

So, after what seemed like it would be a long 2 weeks, time has flown by and we're about ready to leave Vietnam. Coming here, I knew I would find it interesting and would really enjoy this country, but no way did I realize how much I would fall in love with it here. Some of my thoughts:

1)The people are extremely nice (people talked to us much more in the South, but our hotel staff in Hanoi were amazing).
2)The country side is beautiful. Miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) of rice paddies, cows grazing, water buffalo by the side of the road...
3) The people in Vietnam work extremely hard. I don't think I'd ever be able to do what they do. Women carrying pots of soup and souvenirs to sell from morning until after the sun has set. People in the farm all day in this extreme heat. Hotel staff up before you come for breakfast and still there when you go to bed at night.
4)Too many people ride one motorcycle at a time here. We have seen 3 and 4 people on one. And then you have the person who is making a delivery with packages strapped all over the bike, including in their lap.
5) Everyone is in a hurry to go somewhere here, but I'm not sure where they're going. On the planes, people would push past us to get to their seat, but they were flying on the same plane as us, so we could never figure out what the hurry was.
6) People here do not sweat. We would be dying, shirts soaked, weak as can be and people would walk by us on the street in jeans, a sweater and a hat without a bead of sweat anywhere.
7) People must love to shop here. There are way too many stores to only be supported by tourists.
8) The Vietnam people are definitely invested in the future. University is extremely important to the youth and it's obvious how much pride the people take in their family members studies as well as their own. Our hotel hostess this morning was so tense over her little sister taking the University entrance exam today. It was very sweet to be.
9) Babies do not always wear diapers here. And many times the mothers can tell when the baby has to go to the bathroom (not sure how this is done). For example, the woman squatting last night on the night market on the side of the road last night with her little baby boy aiming (if you know what I mean) at the street where a mass of people were walking by, while the baby went to the bathroom straight into the road right behind my leg (and I stress the word right).
10) The people here are extremely into fitness. In many plazas, you will see group aerobics going on. Plus, they do not eat a lot of sweets from what we can tell, but a lot of fruit. The food is terrific and not greasy at all (with the exception of all the fried spring rolls we have ordered).
11) People here love Obama. His face is on t-shirts everywhere.
12) Motorbikes can go anywhere. Seriously, they do not believe in streets and most often, if there is a sidewalk, they are driving on it.
13) To add to that, there are no street rules here, but the drivers are great. No such thing as lanes and barely any traffic signals, but somehow they make it work.
14) A two week trip of Vietnam is not nearly enough. There are so many other places here I want to see and experience. We are definitely in need of another trip here some day in the future.

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