There are contradictions galore in contemporary Vietnamese culture. “You can’t kiss in the street, but you can piss in the street,” one longtime resident noted.
Tag Archives: travel
47. Vietnam and China: No Love Lost
Vietnam is not one of China’s biggest fans. The reasons may be rooted in a long and combative history, but they extend today to a perceived lack of respect.
46. Vũng Tàu Getaway
Vũng Tàu, the nearest seaside community to massive Ho Chi Minh City, is a clean and quiet resort town just two hours’ travel from the urban center.
45. Dear Vietnam: 10 Things I Love About You
Count on your fingers or toes. Here are two handfuls of reasons why Vietnam is a great country to be living in.
44. Stepping Back: Yogyakarta
The author reflects on his long-ago visit to central Java, especially the great religious monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan and the vibrant culture.
43. They’re Not Like Us, Bill (Part 2)
Continuing his musings on differences between Vietnamese and Western values, the author takes on curiosity and gratitude — in a culture with “no queues, no order, no concessions.”
42. They’re Not Like Us, Bill (Part 1)
The author finds himself challenged to understand and accept the values and mindset of his Vietnamese hosts, without surrendering his own Western standards.
41. The Lady Buddha
The bodhisattva Quan Âm has a following in Vietnam comparable to the Buddha himself. Sometimes called ‘Lady Buddha,’ her image is found at places of worship throughout the country.
40. Stepping Back: Bali 1976
With Vietnam still in pandemic lockdown, the author raids his memory cells to recall his earliest travels in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian isle of Bali was a very different place 45 years ago than it is today.
39. Breakfast of Champions
What’s on the morning menu in Vietnam? What do people eat at the start of the day that might differ from later? Surprisingly, perhaps, some things are always popular.
38. On Speaking Vietnamese
Learning to speak Vietnamese may be harder than it first appears, no thanks to 11 vowels, six tonal diacriticals and a handful of regional dialects.
37. A Taste of the Tropics
Some of Vietnam’s finest fruits are nearly unknown in the West. Dragonfruit, mangosteen, sugar apple and rambutan will please nearly every palate.
35. Durian: The King of Fruit
Rejected by outsiders for its pungent odor, the durian fruit is beloved across Southeast Asia. The thick husk hides a delightfully creamy pulp within.
34. Sometimes It Rains
“Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.” — Tim Robbins as Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh in Bull Durham (1988)
33. On Dating (Chapter One)
Dating in a new culture is like finding one’s self as a Stranger in a Strange Land. As any local might tell you, it’s “same same … but different!”
32. Just Give Me the Bread!
Vietnam’s best bánh mì sandwich, a legacy of 19th-century French colonists, is a perfect balance of soft, crispy bread and fresh meats and vegetables.
31. A Home in the Highlands
A move from Ho Chi Minh City to the coffee capital of Buôn Ma Thuột, in the rural province of Đắk Lắk, brings relief from urban air pollution and big-city traffic.
30. Where the Wild Things Are
The Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens, one of the oldest such parks in the world, shares its urban campus with a wonderful history museum.
29. My Life as a Chef
When COVID-19 reared its ugly head in early 2020, the educator-author began to scramble for other means of supporting his lifestyle. He liked to eat: Why not become a chef?
28. The Last Mango in Margaritaville
Finding a comfortable home away from home is always something special for a traveler. Ong Lan beach on Phu Quoc island offered not just one, but two.