The city rises early and goes to bed early with typical office hours being 7AM to 4PM. And after 11PM, the whole city goes to sleep except for the pimps and a few tourists. The pimps, as is the case with most Vietnamese, are not well versed in English, and are often at a loss for words when they accost a tourist.
As soon as you enter
The whole country also has an air of self-confidence about it. And between all the chaos, one gets the feeling that the Vietnamese know how to keep themselves going. When we explained our desired itinerary to a local tour operator, she said, “Neither you have any friends in this place nor you know anything about this place. I know it and I know this place (So shut the **** up and listen to what I propose).”
The Vietnamese are justifiably proud of being the ones to have humiliated the French, the Americans and the Chinese (though always with outside support). But I also respect the Vietnamese for their two most outstanding innovations. First are the toilet signs. Not many can appreciate this, but some people like me, with both arrogance and physical myopia, often get confused between toilets meant for men and women. To me, the symbols outside toilets: of man with the spread legs and a woman wearing skirt, appear quite similar unless I look from real close-up (that is embarrassing). To avoid such confusion, the Vietnamese typically put a picture of David Beckham outside men’s and some female supermodel outside women’s. Simple and amazing; biggest problems of life solved.
The second most important innovation is the snake wine with a dead venomous snake with open hood and a scorpion placed inside a bottle of wine. The wine is not poisonous and is apparently helpful in enhancing potency. And I can perfectly understand why the wine works. Even if the wine is just a placebo, the men who dare drink such wine deserve all the women’s attention.
Interestingly, apart from the symbolic expressions of communist ideology: flags of international communism, occasional agitprop billboards, and the ubiquitous posters of Ho Chi Minh; one can hardly sense that Marxist-Leninist ideology has been at works in the country for so long. The communist government also has a relaxed attitude towards religion. And Christianity, the religion with the most powerful gods now (courtesy western dollars for proselytizing), has established strong presence with some parts of Vietnam having the highest density of churches I have seen anywhere. But that should not come as a surprise. Post
Some pictures of