1. The service industry in Vietnam sucks. It has to be a cultural thing. It’s not that the waiters and waitresses are spaced-out slackers. On the contrary, they spend their shifts darting around the restaurant like Gale Sayers returning a kickoff. They just never come to your table. Or any table. Every restaurant in Vietnam is full of people trying to pounce on the waitstaff so they can get another bottle of water, more bread, or their bill. It’s weird. There have been no exceptions to this rule. Low-end pho joints, coffee shops, high-end Vietfusion joints. Makes no difference.
2. As I have mentioned before, traffic in Vietnam could not be more chaotic. It’s almost always a snarling mess. But despite this, I have not witnessed a single incident of road rage during my three weeks here. No dirty looks. No shouting. No middle fingers. If people in the U.S. drove like they do here, our roads wouldn’t be littered with cigarette butts and plastic Mt. Dew bottles. They’d be littered with bullet-riddled corpses.
3. We’ve met more than a few people here whose fathers for fought for the South and were imprisoned in concentration camps for years after the War ended. So to all you 19 year old, gap-year students from the U.S. who are wandering around Saigon in your red “yellow star” t-shirts, don’t be too shocked if your pho tastes like piss.
4. Vietnam seems to be growing and becoming more “modern” at a furious pace. Saigon and Hanoi are already there, but I doubt I’ll even recognize medium-size towns like Hoi An and Hue in five years. This is both good and bad.
5. Any list of general observations about anything will always leave the author sounding like Andy Rooney. Shit.