Vietnam · 3 Days · 17 Moments · January 2019

Visiting HCM as a tourist


11 January 2019

I visited my grandparents. They were quite forgetful now. The atmosphere is not quite nice. It feels like.. there is not much living energy in them. Grandpa didn’t remember his daughter, his son, and his grandchildren. I don’t know how to respond to that.
https://devonzuegel.com/post/a-day-in-saigon? I got a lot of inspirations from her blog. She seemed to be very well researched everywhere she goes to travel. A lot of different perspectives from mine too. I took for granted a lot of things she felt surprised.
A book I just bought from Fahasa. I wanted to know more about musicians in the past and this seemed to be the perfect book. A high bonus point: it talks about Doan Chuan. I was hoping there would be ebooks I could buy but none. I no longer favor physical copies. A lot of traveling experiences have taught me to not buy books because they were one of the most cumbersome to carry.
My favorite restaurant. I went here twice when visiting Heartfulness for meditation. Sis Sam introduced me this. I haven’t tried other food but my fav so far has been seaweed salad. I think the cook here is very good.
There was no street light for walkers! Wacky.
There were a lot of street arts and typography like this, and I don’t get any meaning of those typography art. What’s the meaning of them? I went to a nail service at cho Ben Thanh yesterday morning. There was only me and my sister. Other shops had not been open yet. But on the gates there were so many beautiful paintings of people and they were so colorful. I‘m super curious to know where did they hire the artists who drew them. There were two sisters doing nail services for me, one was doing my feet and the other was doing my nails. I felt like a king or a VIP. The service cost 10 dollars with a tea cup I could not even finish. They had everything here, food, drinks.. I think they enjoyed their jobs. The woman who was doing the feet for me has been working here for 5 years.
The streets were not clean here and even dangerous. One needs to constantly pay attention if walking across the street. In Nguyen Hue street, on the street light there was a button for you to press and signal to cars and motorbikes to stop for you to cross the street. But it was not very effective. A lot of cars and motorbikes still continued driving and they were not even aware of it. A lot of trash and tree leaves were on the sidewalk. I almost fell down while walking because there was an edge corner.
Cafes are everywhere. But this cafe has many guests and I don’t really get why. Some cafes of this brand people have to line up to buy coffees, quite a strange behavior in Vietnam.
This was the only on-the-street shop that got attention from foreigners I found
There were TONS of people making ends meet on the street. There was a guy selling foreign newspapers, whom I found interesting. I’m quite sure he does not know how to read them. He is quite old and look very old fashioned, probably did not come from big city. And I do not know how he got those newspapers from. Now people no longer read paper news anymore. You can rarely see that scene on local cafes. Lots of them read news on their phones. That image of him might disappear very soon in the near future. There are still Xe Om guys trying to get some customers on the street. It was hard for them. They can sit there for hours looking for one customer and might not get the deal because he charges them overpriced. This type of making a living is very passive.. and I’m surprised it still exists. There was a girl and her daughter. She was trying to sell some basic stuffs like napkins. I gave her 5000 instead of buying her. Sustaining herself has been hard enough. She has to support her kid.
The list of bestsellers: Dac Nhan Tam and Conan. Well. Understandable but still surprised.
One thing people can’t get bored while in Vietnam is that there are so many activities people doing outside the street and it’s quite fun to watch.
I went to Saigon Garden for a few times. The design here was great. There was some signs saying Alpha King - Great Sales Experience. My sister told me to come here and learn from it. It turned out to be a real estate sales location for people to see different houses and real estates. Definitely not my type. There were public seats for people to sit. Even the elevators here were well designed with lots of trees and TVs for advertisement. The coffee beans and Starbucks were located on the other two sides of the buildings. Both were having a lot of customers. The outside view was busy with people and advertisements.
Record list: - noise - cleanliness - transportation - street signs
In Koi. There were so many bubble tea shops around here. The price was high. I got black sugar bubble milk tea and it cost me 68000 VND. A small cup. Well. I’m reviewing some travel blogs I read on the internet. Gotta gain some inspirations to write, capture and observe. Customers here are mainly young students or young people in their 20s. The music here has lots of beats, intended for young audience. The arts here are quite modern. The rooftop is quite a common pattern in many cafes. The seats and tables here are not ideal for studying. Might be more suitable for social gathering and hanging out with friends. Tables are small. The space here is quite big. It might be in the afternoon there are more customers here. I visited royal tea yesterday, sat for 3 hours, and there is NONE visitor except me. Well. Competition is harsh if you sell bubble tea. Don’t know how they survive tho.
In Runam with my sis. The design here is extravagant, yet beautiful. My sis changed her face and got grumpy when she saw milk coffee costs 120000VND. Well. This is Runam sis.

9 January 2019

Grab stories: when I was coming to chi Nhu there was a old guy about 40-50 years old driving me to sis Nhu’s place. He told many interesting stories. He asked me how many siblings do I have and I answered I have a sister. He paused for few seconds and told me he has a friend who has 5 daughters and his friend tried secretly to have a son when he was in his 50s or 60s. Well this was tough. Social pressures were harsh for those who have lots of girls. He also told me he earned about 7-12 millions a month given that he has to work 12-15 hours a day. Almost all day he was out of the street. About 20 customers that day were paying only 10-19 thousands each. He was disappointed that day, but seemed quite glad when he had me because I was his highest earn that day. 27000 VND. Other grab drivers were young and they seemed to be timid when giving rides to girls like me. They were hesitated to start a conversation. There will be people you met only a few minutes but remember for life.