Good morning from Vietnam! Here are some of my initial impressions after spending time in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
- Traffic laws don’t exist. The streets are absolute madness. Traffic lanes and street lights are merely suggestions. Cars are outnumbered by motorbikes swarming in all directions. Crossing the street requires ambition and courage. You basically enter traffic, slowly walk across the street, and pray to God that you don’t get hit. So far this method has been successful.
- Vietnam is really LOUD. Bike and car horns replace visual blinkers. Everyone constantly honks to indicate whatever maneuver they’re undertaking. On top of that, loudspeakers on every corner blast morning and evening announcements followed by cheery Vietnamese music. This leads me to my next observation…
- Communism! Vietnam is economically becoming more and more capitalistic, but it is still easy to see the communist party influence. Red hammer and sickle flags are on every street corner below the loudspeakers, and cops enforce a strict midnight curfew on all businesses. These are just a couple reminders that this country is fundamentally different than the U.S.
- French influence is a good thing. Vietnam is a beautiful place for a number of reasons. I first noticed this in the huge capital city of Hanoi, which seems like a European city in an Asian country. The French colonized Vietnam up until the 1950’s, and their influence is clear from the food to the architecture and more. I love bread and Vietnam does too. Next to pho stands are bakeries selling fresh croissants and baguettes. Just like Europe, locals sit on street corners eating and drinking late into the night.
Vietnam is a boisterous and vibrant place. Over half of its population is under the age of 26, and everyone I’ve meet so far has been extremely friendly. I know I’m gonna love this country.