Crossing the street in Saigon
Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
189Trip End Ongoing
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The answer is quite simple. Just do it and walk slowly. Initially it makes no sense when all we want to do is get to the other side and one would think the quicker we move, the quicker we'll get to our destination, and the more of a chance we'll be safe
Our first full day here in Saigon we did a lot of shopping, which is so unlike us. We found a market which had hundreds of stalls selling just about everything. The shopkeepers are far more aggressive here than anywhere we've been before. Many of them literally grab our arms to try to get us to buy from them. Garyn says the markets in Vietnam are the most similar to her experience with markets in China
Vietnamese have the reputation of being very businesslike, but also have the reputation of doing whatever they can to make a buck, even if it means scamming others (often foreigners) in the process. It's just something we're aware of here (just like we're aware of making sure we hold on to our bag when we walk the streets due to theft coming from motorbikes), but we have come to Vietnam with a very open mind and will continue to be aware of our surroundings.
The shopping experience was somewhat successful. Garyn bought a dress/cover up for $6 USD when the initial price was $20. She also bought a pair of flip flops for $4. I bought a pair of shorts for $7 USD and when I went to try them on back in the hotel later, it turned out the the slit to close the button was sewn shut, so I'll have to find a tailor/seamstress (there are tons here) to fix it. Hopefully it won't cost more than the shorts! But, the purchase I was most excited about was a German football (soccer) jersey. I am not a soccer fan, but over the last couple days we realized that for the entire knockout rounds, including the championship, of the World Cup, we'll be in Berlin
We went to another market after, which is more expensive, but we think the clothing may actually be real (rather than knockoffs) although we're not sure. They don't bargain at this market - fixed prices only. We may go back and make some more purchases before we leave Saigon. Since Vietnam is our last stop before Europe, anything we need to buy will be significantly cheaper in Asia, so it would make sense to purchase any necessities here.
Our first day in Vietnam was an enjoyable one. We walked a lot and saw much of the city and had fun bargaining at the markets. The city is vibrant, busy, and crazy. Having said that, right in the thick of things, we found lots of parks and green space. We definitely won't run out of things to do here to keep us busy. And if we do, we can always cross the street over and over again just for fun!