Vietnam: Hanoi and The People

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I used to live in this city, where you can find tons of interesting things that you can never find anywhere else. In which I find the most compelling must be the Hanoian people. There is a great variety here. People say Vietnamese people everyone looks the same. Take a look closer! The exotic Asian look might blind you but you will see they are different in a certain point.

If you have known, Asian loves to have ‘white’ skin. I mean, they prefer to have a lighter skin than a dark brown skin. Vietnamese people do have this favour too. The reason is simply about the way they want other people look at them. Light skin – ‘you work in an office, have a good job’; Brown skin – ‘oh, you must work really hard either on a field or always on a go’. It sounds quite funny but yes, that’s how they think. However, somehow it actually describes part of what they do. If you observe closely on each person pass by, there are women carrying big packages on a bicycle, old men trying to sell lotteries, men in suits, etc. This is what I mean with being different in a certain point. Hanoian (or Vietnamese people in general) work really hard. Everyone has their own businesses. Besides the higher social class with suits on, Hanoian people could be in a really low position. Some lucky ones have a job owning a shop, or driving taxi. Some actually work days and nights but only have the wage even less than a low position officer. Sometimes I wonder how they can handle everything in their lives with such a small amount of money.

Let’s get back to the jobs part. There are various jobs in Hanoi that you can’t imagine that they are even exist. I couldn’t tell them all, but I gotta say, thanks to them we have all the abilities to fulfil our needs while either living or travelling here.

About Hanoian people – I see ‘us’ in different perspectives. As a Hanoian born, allow me to use “we” in the following lines. There is a contrast between Hanoian before and now. What I learned about Hanoian people – as down to earth, kind, warm hearted, caring for each other – were way before the time I was born. I mean, I don’t say we are not like that. We are still warm hearted people and very hospitable. However, there is a certain extent, we have changed. I think, we only see this change through tourism. Tourists find Hanoian people are not as friendly as Saigon people. I have to admit, I see the same thing. I cudgel my brain about how much Hanoian people have changed. Looking around and I realised, the huge amount of people that we normally communicate with in Hanoi is from the rural area. As my perspective, they are less likely educated and they are quite aggressive in getting money. I’m not saying they have made Hanoi change that much but it gotta be one of the reasons, doesn’t it?
‘Do you know corruption is also one of the reasons?’ – T. asked.
After 3o minutes explaining, I got lost in the whole complication of Hanoi’s problems. Saigon is more developed than Hanoi. Its tourism is way ahead of us, thanks to the French reign. Therefore, the people there have a higher ability to earn more money and develop the city in any dimension. Somehow this leads to being more friendly in the South of Vietnam? I can’t tell but it really makes the people there happier and more relaxed in making money. In contrast, people from Northern Vietnam are more hostile in earning a living.

In my heart, I know we are great people. Because of some circumstances, we have to work hard for our livelihoods. And that’s what is all about. We could be someone sitting along the road with some small wooden chairs trying to sell tea or snacks, or carrying yokes around the city… I know that everyone all over the world has their own difficulties in living but I really admire Vietnamese people and how hard they work to afford a tough city life. Even though how fast the city has developed, Hanoian people still keep their own tradition and culture. In the end, everything I have mentioned comes from culture. And they are making the culture and profit us as travellers to see and understand a country better.

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Vietnam: Saigon

Found myself in a café where there were quite many young Vietnamese people hanging out. Around me were different kinds of people but they all came here with the same purpose – have a cup of coffee and hang out with friends. And me, sitting alone with a cup of coffee and a note-book.

After a week of travelling alone, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was my final stop in Vietnam. It was a huge difference coming from Dalat to HCMC. From a place with a little cold draught and quiet alleys to humid and noisy Saigon. This city has a great amount of traffic on the road every day and night. Somehow, it gets even more crowded in the evening, especially District 1. D1 is the centre of Saigon that you can find a lot of backpackers around this area. Yes, I am included. The city seems never sleep in this district.

Walking around the city in the extreme heat, I passed by most of the main attractions. What actually worth a visit must be the war museum. An exhibition demonstrates the story of the Vietnam war. Looking through all the photos, you find sympathy. There is a heartbreaking array of photographs that bring you back to time. Mixed feelings in different visitors but they leave with something to think about. Night life in Saigon is crazy. I don’t have to mention the traffic but the amount of people going out is massive. I hid myself from the crowd by going up to a rooftop bar where are few steps away from the backpacker’s area. You are gonna love the view. The light is on and brings the city a spark at night. It is actually the highlight of my stay in Ho Chi Minh city.

I was in the rush so did not have the time to do any trips outside the city. But you are here, don’t miss the boat trip on the Mekong Delta or a trip to Cu Chi tunnels.  DSC_0507

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