Wednesday, March 08, 2017


So this was making its way around Facebook (of my friends living out here in Saigon).  So I thought I'd give my two cents on it, and briefly comment on all the thing the article mentions.

1. Bicycle seats are not for using

Hmmm.  Actually I haven't noticed this so much.

2. Beer is not beer without ice

Totally true.  Although as with a lot of things on this list, my first exposure to this was from living in Phnom Penh.  By the time I got to Saigon, this didn't even phase me anymore.
All expats go through the same phases.  Initially, everyone is repulsed.  But then you think about it, and there's no good reason beer can't be diluted a bit with ice.  (We put ice in everything else we drink).  And in this hot climate, the benefits of ice are obvious.  So before long, most expats make the adjustment and start adding ice to their beer as well.

3. Beer is not alcohol

Hmmm.  Haven't noticed this one.

4. Welcome to my bathroom-laundry-storeroom-toilet-miscellaneous other

Yeah, it's true enough.  But it's less a cultural thing and more because of the poverty.  Saigonese would love to live in big luxurious apartments if they could.

5. If it looks odd and feels bouncy, it must be delicious

I'm going to have to plead ignorance on this one.  Much to my shame, I've not been adventurous food-wise, and have stuck to the Western restaurants.

6. Hollaaaaaa gurl

Totally true.  People are always yelling across the street.

7. Spitting is to men as breathing is to… everyone

More spitting here than back home, that's for sure.  But not nearly as much spitting as in China.

8. Scooters are limitless

So true.  It was even worse in Phnom Penh.

9. Roads are just a suggestion

Totally true.  And was true in Phnom Penh as well.
Makes me crazy, by the way.  I'm sick of having to dodge motorcycles while walking on the sidewalk.  But what can you do?  When in Rome...

10.  But I might burn my toes…

Totally true.  And was also true in Cambodia, Japan, and I'm pretty sure most of Asia.
With what we know these days about UV rays and skin damage, the Asians have actually got it the right-way round.  We in the West are the crazy ones.

11.  Man or gut? 

Unfortunately, totally true.  And was true in Phnom Penh as well.  So much cheap beer in this part of the world.  I hate to say it, but I've put on a beer gut myself.

12. Squat till you drop

Totally true.  But of course not just Vietnam, but pretty much all of Asia.

13. Would you like some plastic?

It was even worse in Japan.  (And in fact I suspect it's partly the influence of all these Japanese convenience stores in Saigon that started the trend.)

14. If in doubt, don a pantsuit

It was even more so in Phnom Penh

15.  One-trade street

Totally true.  And was also true in Phnom Penh.

16. The infamous Saigon body-lingo

I haven't noticed this so much

Huh... Did I miscount, or were there only 16 on this list instead of 17?

No comments: