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

 

 

Published by Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

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