Growing up in Houston, I was raised around several ethnic groups. Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Central Americans. Being near all of these ethnic groups gave me a thirst to learn more about people and where they were from and their culture. In fact, I believe it was this early exposure that created this thirst for world travel and global policies. And for the last 25 years, I have done just that.
One of the places on my bucket list was Vietnam and I had the pleasure of visiting this amazing country for two months in 2019. The first city my friend, Silja, and I arrived in and explored was Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon.
There was no evidence of the war that was waged there nearly 50 years ago. Vietnam had somehow dug itself from the rubble from their fight for independence from Colonial France and begun anew.
There seem to be more mopeds than people that descended upon us like a cloud of traffic and logical road rules seem to be out the window.
Street vendors lined the streets selling food, coffee, and art and there seem to be a market for specialty coffee cocktails.
The folks of Ho Chi Minh had a way of mixing tradition with a modern aesthetic by wearing the Non-La, a traditional cone hat with western clothing signifying respect for tradition while moving firmly towards the future.
The people were friendly and curious but always trying to find a way to sell us an item they felt we must have. The architecture reminded one of China but was uniquely Vietnamese. In fact, despite being on the SE Asian peninsula, the culture and feel of Vietnam felt more like it’s East Asian neighbors to the North.
My favorite dish in Ho Chi Minh was Bún Thịt Nướng, cold vermicelli noodles with pork belly and veggies and it was delicious. Sorry I have no pics for you, you’ll just have to imagine it.
Photos by me
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