10 Things About Vietnamese

  1. They are very friendly. And I mean very. They like asking any kind of questions, especially if you are a foreigner. There are no limits to this — it is ok to ask a person they have just met about their salary, family, age, nationality, the list goes on… We had several occasions when we just met a person, talked for a while about this and that and after 20 minutes of talking they were inviting to meet their family at dinner!
  2. They LOVE karaoke. Vietnamese strike me as being quite musical. They love to sing, dance and party. The family we live with (Father, mother and two children) owns a disco ball!
  3. They love to gamble. Vietnamese men and women spend a lot of time playing cards.
  4. They are very patriotic. When was the last time you have seen a Russian in traditional sarafan or kokoshnik? I don’t think you have ever seen this kind of thing outside festivals or history textbooks. But here it is quite popular to wear classic conical hats (nón lá) and traditional clothing (áo dài). Flags, images of Hô Chi Minh are everywhere. Even the names of major mobile operators contain letters of the country: Vinaphone, Viettel.
  5. They drive like crazy. This is an understatement. Traffic is so insane, every time I want to cross the road it takes me several minutes to calm myself down before doing that. And driving? Only some people obey traffic lights and even if they do they still can do something unexpected or dangerous. I am still afraid of road crossings.
  6. They consider white skin beautiful. So they cover themselves up as much as they can. Girls are wearing skin-coloured tights wherever they go, no matter what the temperature is (even with flip-flops). They are putting on hoodies in blistering heat.
  7. They give money with two hands. It is the sign of respect. Or they touch one hand with the other at the elbow and then hold out the money.
  8. They drink a lot of beer. An average slender Vietnamese male can drink approximately 6 bottles of beer during dinner and still look sober.
  9. They are delighted when a foreigner speaks (or rather tries to) their language. And your ability to say so simple words as “yes”, “no”, “hello”, “rice” etc can be really useful too. Vietnamese have a tendency to say the price for foreigners which is twice bigger than the price for the locals, so be attentive and learn at least 10 words or so before coming.
  10. They smile. And that is so pleasant. I mean, even if this nice lady in the store I visit every day doesn’t care about me, so be it, but she smiles so warmly I can’t help smiling back. It such a pity that Russians are so unsmiling. Prove me wrong! Smile!

Carpe diem, dudes!

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