My first impressions
At Monday March 30th, I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I arrived late in the evening and borrowed a taxi towards my apartment. The taxi drive almost felt surreal. Looking outside the window it was like looking at a documentary about the traffic in Mumbai (India) I saw once. Never have I seen as many motorbikes driving in complete chaos. After a short but hectic ride where cars and motorbikes were honking and my driver was even calling while driving, I safely arrived at my apartment. My apartment is in District one close to the Bến Thành market and in the middle of the centre. I will live together with two Vietnamese and one Japanese housemates. Lucky me, my apartment has air conditioning since living on the third floor under the roof can be quite hot.
The day after I arrived, I would meet two of my co-workers Tam and Ngan. The meeting however, was scheduled for the evening and I still had some time to explore the area. I live very close to Saigon square and I started to make my way through this crazy traffic. If I have to cross a street, I am glad when I finally reach the other side. Reaching my destination, the Bến Thành market, I saw a lot of stalls from clothes to fruit and even some meat. There were some main paths to walk through but most stalls where put so close together, that you could only walk through them with one person at the time. Very clear however, was that this was a market where many tourists can be found. (The tourists are mostly concentrated in the centre especially in District 1)
After walking through the market, I made my way to the green park. There, an English guy told me to join his conversation with two Vietnamese. Apparently, this park is kind of a meeting place where Vietnamese students try to learn English by talking to foreigners. It was fun to talk and they even showed me in which direction I could find a supermarket. The supermarket however, I never found. Later on, I discovered that I had been only one street away from it. Walking back, I again crossed the Vietnamese. I told them I hadn’t been able to find the supermarket and that I was looking for washing detergent. They decided to help me and I have to say, the Vietnamese are very nice and relaxed. However, the English language is for most of them very difficult, and this also led to the following misunderstanding. They brought me to an electronic a store, thinking that I was going to buy a washing machine. Lucky me, that the store also sold washing detergent and my task was completed.
Meanwhile, it was almost time to meet my co-workers. I met them at a local café where we had some drinks and snacks and they explained me when I would start and how I could get to the office, etc. In my next story, I will tell more about my internship place. Ending our meeting, I went out for some food at the Bến Thành market. There I ended up having dinner with two girls from Malaysia: Vivian and Bowie. They helped me with the chopsticks and we shared our meals together. This, by the way, is quite common in Asia. Furthermore, they showed me how to peal the shrimps but I still felt very clumsy doing so. We had a nice conversation and apparently, they went on a city trip to Ho Chi Minh City. It’s kind of the same as we do in Europe and it’s nice to see that people from other countries aren’t that different.
Write to you again,