You meet the nicest people
Trip Start Feb 10, 2014
16Trip End Mar 08, 2014
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You really meet the nicest people here.
Saigon has been great. To westerners who have never been in South East Asia it must be puzzling when you compare the way we do and treat travelers and the way they do that here. An example from last year which I recorded on my blog.
I stopped in a small village somewhere in Central Vietnam; it was a very hot day and I had been riding in my T-shirt. After parking the bike in front of one of the many tiny drink stands I pulled a bottle out of the fridge but the bottle was hot as the fridge was not operating
After I sat down, instead of saying, "why don’t you drink it where you bought it !" she pulled up a chair for me, than gave me a clean glass, Sweat was running off my face. The old lady got up and got a pedestal fan for me. She sat down again and looked at my arms. She got a hose out to cool down my arms. Meanwhile she noticed that my arms had attracted some dust and dirt on it so she got some soap and washed my arms for me. Why she do that? I think it made her feel good to do something for someone else or, it was a way to say Welcome to my country. I don’t know but I was perplexed.
Scenario two ( two days ago)
My good friend Jerome Boisard from France always says when it comes to planning “oh… see what goes” or “see what (h)appens”, it is better not plan too much but just let things develop
He advised me that in the street near my hotel was a stall where “you get the best ever fruit juice smoothies you have ever tasted” . So better check it out. When I got there early afternoon I ordered a mango smoothie and sat down on a chair in the narrow side ally. Lots of people walked by. A girl arrived and parked her scooter a few meters away and ordered a smoothie from the same stall. A minute later she sat next to me and after some silence asked where I was from (standard issue in this country) She was wearing a uniform so I asked what the uniform was all about. In absolutely perfect English she told me that she worked for a Vespa scooter tour company as sales manager. I had seen that place earlier on. With all the Vespa’s parked outside Her job was to go to hotels and hostels and talk to the management to entice them to sell Vespa tours for which they would get a commission
Meanwhile we covered a lot of subjects, sales and marketing for one, travel, family, the Vietnam war, politics, tourism, motorcycles etc. When it was time to leave I wanted to pay but she insisted on paying the bill. Her name was Phuong and in her mid to late 20’s. Had been to university and was very “with it”. When I got back to front of my hotel she collected her scooter from the security guard while I thanked her for the nice evening and conversation and off she went after saying “Welcome to Vietnam. “
Explain this to someone in the west and immediately people would have an opinion about this. Well this is my fourth trip to Vietnam during the last six years. If you have a chance go here and check it out. You don’t have to leave it for the cost of a good holiday as long as you don’t book an organized trip from a European or Australian travel agency. The flight is the main expense but staying and living her cost relatively little compared to home or popular places like Spain and Turkey. Just do it and you will your opportunity to really meet the nicest people.