All rightey then folks, we’ve finished our blog posts for places visited in Cambodia and are motoring on to get the site more up to date.
After Cambodia we spent three months in Vietnam, almost a week in Hong Kong, one month in China, the same in Laos and we’ve been in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for the last six weeks. To let you hear about our adventures in all of those places quicker and to keep things fresh, we’ll focus on a different country each time we do a new post. Naturally we will keep you updated on the most current happenings in our weekly “Sunday Post” instalments. Anyhoo, it’s on to Vietnam for this post.
Harking back to our Cambodian Curiosities article, we thought we’d kick off our Vietnamese posts with a similar light-hearted look at culture shock…here’s five things we found fascinatingly odd about Vietnam:
1. Da Cau – this is a game in which the players kick a feather shuttlecock at each other – like badminton only using their feet. This strangely enjoyable game is the National Sport of Vietnam and everyone from toddlers to pensioners gets involved. I saw a middle-aged couple playing it, which made me laugh as I thought of my mum and dad having a game – surreal image indeed! I bought myself a da cau shuttlecock though, so maybe I can make it happen when I next see them…haha
2. House of the Rising Sun – As soon as any Vietnamese person picked up a guitar they started playing that tune. Not that I am complaining, it’s a great song, just found it a little odd that everyone (and I mean everyone) with a guitar played it many, many times.
3. Pyjamas – In a similar do as thy neighbour vein, Vietnamese women, pretty much all of them, liked to wear what looked like all-in-one floral pyjamas at all times of the day!
4. Motorbike helmets – Another item which Vietnamese people (usually older men for whatever reason) like to wear all the time is their motorbike helmet – even when they’re not driving their motorbikes!
5. Sidewalks are for Motorbikes – apparently almost half of Vietnam’s 90 million people have a motorbike, although I suspect it’s more than that – we even saw young kids whizz round on them. There are eight million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh city alone! And they just don’t stick to the road, no sir. Pedestrian footpaths are their domain as well, for riding and for parking. Fact – because of the motorbikes, you will spend more time walking on the roads than on the sidewalk!