No it is not the main character of the hip Thai movie Crazy Little Thing Called Love, it refers to Việt Nam.
I am currently writing from the Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City Guesthose. It is my second day here – although technically I haven’t spent 24 hours here. I am here for an education forum, discussing about how ASEAN youth could achieve global citizenship and intercultural competence. But, this post isn’t about what I am going to deliver in the forum, nor about global citizenship and intercultural competence – it is about uncle Ho’s city.
It took only 2,5 hours from Jakarta to Ho Chi Minh, with no time zone difference between the two cities. It is incredibly similar to Jakarta – with more honking, aggressive and fast drivers comparable to angkot drivers in Indonesia, more organized pedestrian walks and public parks. There are more parks here compared to Jakarta’s; larger and cleaner as well. In size, perhaps……they could be compared to Taman Lalu Lintas in Bandung. Generally, I daresay the city is much cleaner than Jakarta.
The buildings! I think Jakarta’s are much larger and more sophisticated. Buildings here are much simpler.
I spotted a transgender on the way to the guesthouse – and is definitely comparable to those found below Pasopati. Oke. Sip.
I saw a mall/shopping center too! PVJ is thrice better than that. *jahat* Amusingly, I saw a pirated DVD store and a boutique named “Topshop” with similar fonts with UK’s Topshop, but with contents of Mangga Dua. Hahahahaha. Oh how I love Asians.
The small shops are so much alike to Jakarta’s small shops and toko kelontong. They sell similar things, too. I saw a pasar kaget as well! So they put the things they sell (dolls, tees for 35,000 dong – 17,500 IDR, and bags) on a carpet on the road.
What different is that they have small cafes/food stalls (um I don’t know the correct term for this) outdoor and customers are seated in plastic stools/chairs, each spaced quite afar one from another. With the chairs are small plastic coffee table. Since it was already dark, I couldn’t see clearly the things they were eating/drinking. Hum.
The city has an excessive display of colored neon lights!
The roads are much smoother and larger than Jakarta’s. The steering wheel is located on the left, and they use right-hand traffic. The motorcycles’ helmets aren’t like the SNI-type of helmet, but only the top half type of helmet.
Physically, Vietnamese are closer to Chinese physical traits than to Malay.
Enjoying it so far! Well it didn’t give any special atmosphere or effect like when arriving in London or DC (well, duh, you don’t say…..) but am enjoying it! It is the third Southeast Asian countries visited after Singapore and Malaysia – which are considered not “foreign” thanks to Singapore’s cheap flights which make going to Bali is twice the price to Singapore, and Malaysia’s ultra-similar culture and people. I miss Singapore, though.
Oh well. Heading off to canteen for breakfast soon! See ya! 😉