Vietnam – First impressions


You need to honk. The more, the better. That’s local style of riding. Vietnam welcomes me with heavy traffic, most of which is caused by motorbikes of course. All of them honk. This constant beeping is not an acoustic whim. You have to. In Vietnam there are about 94 million of people, all of them use mopeds. The philosophy of driving is the same as the philosophy of Polish football: push forward. When joining the main road from a side street, they just go. The instinct of checking whether they won’t immediately get run over does not exist. It’s some kind of an abstract invention here. That’s why it’s important to give a warning honk and swiftly avoid the suicides. Survival instinct makes you learn this very quickly.

It’s different here. Yoghurt and milk is easily available and there are coffin workshops in towns. Houses are made of bricks. There’s a slightly bigger choice of products in shops and more diverse range of services in towns. There’s running water and sewage system everywhere. After three months in Laos and Cambodia I feel as if I came to a wealthy country.

And these rubbish bins! The last time when I saw one was in Myanmar. And here they are placed along the roads and shamelessly tempt passersby to use them. And then rubbish is taken away by garbage trucks. Incredible. No, I won’t claim that Vietnam is a clean country. But there are places where it is clean. There are flower beds in squares, parks and along main boulevards with neatly cut ornamental bushes and colourful flowers. Somebody waters them and sweeps the streets. As if aesthetics mattered as well. I’ve already forgotten that such a world exists.

I wrote about hammocks in Cambodia but forget about Cambodia. Cambodia, compared to Vietnam, is like Milik vs Messi. Here relaxing in a hammock reached a full professional level. Here there are roadside bars with just hammocks, instead of chairs. Ten, twenty hammocks hanging next to each other. You order a delicious local coffee or sugar cane juice and you rock. Hence, I propound that such bars should be obligatory along our bike routes and, in case of not adhering to this law, high fines should be imposed.

And it’s beautiful here. It’s as simple as that. Mountains, sea, dunes, salt ponds, rice paddies, gulfs and beaches. Many boats, barges and fishermen ships on rivers and canals. Fresh greenery and bougainvilleas in bloom. There’s plenty to catch the eye. And there are Vietnamese with their famous pointy hats which are worn on everyday basis and it’s no tourist scam.

So it’s worth it. And I’m happy I’ll be here for three months.

A puzzle as a bonus: look at the map of the world and compare Poland to Vietnam. Which one is bigger? Yeah, you’re wrong too. Vietnam actually.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.