By Ken Smith
I’m thinking I should plan an extended visit to Vietnam. I’ve never been there, so I don’t know how long “extended” might be. I could use my air miles (before they expire) to buy an open-ended return ticket.
I’ve talked to several people and read many others who have good things to say about Vietnam. Fascinating culture. Great food. Inexpensive living. Wonderful scenery. I recall reading one comment by a backpacker who said there’s not enough money in the world for him to return to Vietnam, but he did not explain why.
Several years ago, my seat mate on a long flight was an Israeli woman who had art galleries in New York and Tel Aviv, plus a studio in Hanoi where she lived half the year. Her specialty was working with artists who blend traditional Vietnamese art with abstract modern. She showed me her catalogue, featuring the work of a half-dozen contemporary Vietnamese artists. I was fascinated and ready to book a flight. I’m not an artist, but I like communities of artists and cities that encourage such communities.
I recently stumbled onto an interesting web page about expats in Vietnam. If you have even a faint interest in some day visiting Vietnam, it’s worth reading. Also, click on some of the links of this government-sponsored website. Tuoi Tre News, a media outlet belonging to the HCMC Communist Youth Union, is managed by Pham Duc Hai, its editor-in-chief. Like their Chinese neighbors to the north, it appears that the Vietnamese are successfully blending capitalism and western marketing techniques in a socialist government.
– Ken Smith
Tuoi Tre News
Whenever asking expats what they do not like about Vietnam, we often get familiar answers about traffic chaos, reckless drivers, degrading bus system, rubbish on the streets, polluted rivers or people’s unpunctuality.
However, when it comes to their favorite things about Vietnam, each foreigner has their own response based on their good memories of living in this S-shaped country, even though some have lived here for just a couple of months.
Stivi Cooke from Australia wrote to explain why he fell in love with Vietnam even though he has been struggling to adapt to the new life and to earn a living in a small tourist coastal town of Hoi An.
“The kids giggle, the adults smile, the food’s great, the summer weather is a dream, my students are very nice (usually!) and my local area is quiet at night. I often like to sit out in my garden in the dark late at night, drink a Larue and watch the stars on a clear, hot summer’s night with not a sound in the air,” Stivi listed favorite things from a simple daily life in Vietnam.
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