Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's All About Attitude

I'll admit, I wasn't too sure I would like Vietnam. The vast majority of travelers I've met have had nothing but negative things to say about it: That the people are rude, you'll get ripped off... some even went so far as to tell me I shouldn't bother going at all! Of course I had to see what it was like for myself. I am happy to report that my first day in Vietnam was nothing short of stellar, but it took me a minute to realize why.

As I reviewed the photos I took today in Ho Chi Minh City I saw that I barely took any. How did I have such a good day then, I wondered, if I have hardly any pictures to show for it?  But when I thought about it a little more I realized it had nothing to do with the city itself; I really didn't see or do anything out of the ordinary (although HCMC was quite pleasant as far as big cities go!). The pictures I took were almost all of people I had met throughout the day. Incredibly nice and friendly people, which upon further reflection I realized literally every single person I spoke with today was: Some guys in the park let me watch (and take pictures of) their nunchuck lesson, a man I bought a sandwich from gave me a free water (or at least didn't tell me if it was included in the price!) and a woman who owned the restaurant I ate at gave me her contact information and said to call her if I ran into any problems.

Maybe everybody here was just in a really good mood today, or maybe I just got lucky. But I think it's because despite what I'd been told I didn't assume people would be rude to me; I came here with a positive attitude, a smile and knew how to say thank you in Vietnamese. I'm not saying that people (no matter what country you're in) won't still be rude even if you're friendly but I think travelers often don't realize that showing interest in the locals, learning even a couple words of the language and simply being kind will go a long way.

I could not have asked for a better start to my month in Vietnam and I owe it all to the lovely people in Ho Chi Minh - gaam ern!

The food was amazing too, this was delicious and cost $1!

Some art students I met in the park

Just your average nunchuk lesson

Ridiculously cute

The game all Vietnamese men seem to play

The craziest traffic I've ever seen!


Susan Zwick said...

So glad to know that day 1 has gone well- Viet Nam has a hard act to follow I think given your love affair with Cambodia. The photos are lovely.keep them coming.
BTW- Sandro & Linda were in Viet Nam and really liked it. Thanks again for the SIM...

Mildred said...

Emily was there last summer and she loved Vietnam-- to the point that it is now added to my bucket list.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Alex. You are learning that what matters in life is not so much what happens "to" us but what happens "in" us.


Wondering and Wandering said...

@ Mildred - Glad to hear Emily enjoyed it also, it's a fantastic place! Thanks for reading!

@ Brenda - Exactly :)