Vietnam Reisebericht - noch nicht verschickt

ein kleiner reisebericht einer bekannten. sie war in vietnam für einen kurztrip

 


An Impression of Vietnam

There are 84 million people living in Vietnam which is just slightly larger than the state of New Mexico for comparison.  April temperatures were lovely at a balmy 30 – 35 º C or  86 – 100ºF with a humidity of 66%.  The rainy season from May to October commonly  gets  12 inches of rain  a month.  We saw a  couple of rain showers that lasted only a hour but the quantity that fell was monsoon proportions.

In Saigon or also called Ho Chi Minh City in recent years -  there is a total of 8 million people plus 4 million motorbikes  added to the cars, vans,  and transport trucks on the roadways. 

The outward appearance of chaos is actually a free flow traffic system mostly devoid  of traffic lights, and rules. The motorbikes buzz around the streets in all kinds of sizes, colors and styles.  They carry ladies with long dresses and high heels, families of 2 adults and two children, 2 people and 2 dogs, bags of rice, baskets of ducks, cages of pigs, TV’s, bricks, refrigerators, rebar  iron and anything else you can imagine. 

Although the masses of bike riders wore a variety of face masks of vivid colors, styles and shapes – there is no noticeable pollution (well perhaps behind a diesel truck) as all the vehicles on the road have to be less than 20 years old.  From what we could tell, the most important part of any vehicle was – the horn.  The most useless part – the signal lights.

This is the scene that greets  a pedestrian.   Survival of the fittest/bravest.  You just step onto the road and walk slow and steady forward to a wall of vehicles.  Bikes weave and dodge around you.  Pause for the cars and trucks and never go backward. It took a few days and a lot of false starts to learn the technique.

We did notice the odd minor crash but the abundance of helping hands to assist the  fallen or help dust off a driver seemed to lessen the pain.   The statistics were a lot less glamous with a new helmet law being introduced in the last few months and a 60% drop in fatalities.

The skyline outside of Saigon displayed thousands of TV antennas as even the poorest dwelling had  TV.  Following the highways guarantees population on both sides of roads  with open homes and private enterprise flourishing. There was the odd empty lot of greenery to add to the lush picturesque landscape.

The land around homes were small segregated fields.  It was not unusual to see a front yard filled with rice or corn drying, or a pond for fish, a rice paddy, a cow grazing or tombs of past relatives.  And as is the world over:  some are neat and tidy and others messy and full of rubble.  In general, shoes were always removed and brooms were well used.  Cockroaches were not evident.

Food was mysterious as everyone seemed to eat soup for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between.  At 38º degrees we wanted ice cream not soup.  No wonder they are all so slim!!  We could learn a lot from their eating habits.  We didn’t notice any birds, rabbits squirrels or other rodents.  I am sure they existed at one time or another but became a food source at some point. They do eat quite a variety of foods.

The Bassac River begins on a high Tibetan plateau 4500 kms away.  The Vietnamese call the Mekong Delta “Cuu Long” or 9 dragons for the number of arms the river splits into in the south of Vietnam before emptying into the China Sea.  This area is a hub of activity with floating markets as most people  travel on rivers.  The Cai Rang floating market opens from 4 am to 9 am  7 days a week with hundred of boats and junks coming to the 1 km long market place carrying a variety of fruit and vegetables.  Traders come to the market to buy the produce to take them to other markets or export them.  Even boats selling breakfast and coffee meander through the maze of vessel s.  A fascinating sight to witness.

The things to see in Vietnam were plentiful and varied.  Pagodas of many religions dotted the landscape with beautiful carvings and colors.  The “rice Basket of Vietnam”  was green and thriving.  Rice takes 3 months to mature and there are 4 crops a year.   

Faces are smiling, children content and the elderly stooped from years of hard work and a history of hardship.

Vietnam with its tragic past and optimistic future has evolved into a vibrant country that is attracting foreign investors abound.  There is very little crime in Vietnam.  You would be very hard pressed as a tourist to feel any of the confines of communism.  The rules seem pretty basic.  You work; you get money and you eat - paying 10% in taxes.  You don’t work; you don’t eat.  Perhaps we can learn from that philosophy in our society.

We would not hesitate to go back to Vietnam. Great place to turn 50!

R&R

5.5.08 15:31

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