"Count your Dong in Vietnam" Top 5 Page for this destination Vietnam by richiecdisc
Vietnam Travel Guide: 12,854 reviews and 32,365 photos
Vietnam first came into my consciousness as a boy during the conflict between the north and south of what was explained as a divided country. All I knew was my older brother joined the reserves and got married at least in part to avoid going there. My next exposure was a myriad of movies on the topic ranging from Full Metal Jacket to Apocalypse Now. Though thought provoking, they did little to garner my desire to go there. Hell, this was a place they made you go. Not one you chose. No, it was not until my university years when I ran across a total hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Philadelphia that the seed for my eventually going there was planted. It was an as of then unheard of Vietnamese eatery. Friends joked about eating cat, dog or who knows what but I was undaunted. It looked intriguing and I just had to try it. I was faced with a seemingly unlimited number of choices, about fifty of them soups! What the hell, the first time, I chose number one and what they brought out changed my perception of Vietnam forever. That first whiff of fresh mint and coriander leaves, wedges of lime, chilies, and the aromatic broth linger in my olfactory memory even more profoundly now than Coppola’s cinematic vision of Brando gone astray in the Southeast Asian jungle. The soup was called pho and I fell in love with it. I ate it for over twenty years before I ventured to the country of its origin but if any one thing made me want to go there, it was the food.
Vietnam is a country still visibly ravaged by war and its people, though amazing survivors, are in part still a product of it. Aside from the obvious amputees and illegitimate children of American soldiers, there are few people who were not touched by a war that was anything but civil. Perhaps due to this, the people are an industrious lot bent on making a success story of what its saviors left behind. This assiduous attitude can unfortunately be seen as aggressive by Westerners less accustomed to the necessity to fight for every mouthful. Sometimes this perception is well-founded especially with regard to the tourist sector. What Vietnamese entrepreneurs need to realize is westerners go on vacation to relax and many to experience a country as locals do. What they do not want is to be treated as money cows and charged inflated prices on goods and services. Returning customers and word of mouth referrals are their future livelihood. Making less now just might lead to more later. If they want to rush to western ideals, let’s hope this tenet is one of them.
Fifteen days is a fair amount of time to see a good amount of Vietnam. My wife and I spent three weeks and felt we got a... more travel advice
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Vietnam Travel Guide
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