Keeping it interesting – discoveries of an expat in Saigon

15 Nov

KEEPING IT INTERESTING – DISCOVERIES OF AN EXPAT IN SAIGON  I’ve been living in Ho Chi Minh City for nearly four months now and recently realised I’ve been experiencing the “three month lull”. I’ve noticed it amongst my friends as well. The honeymoon period is over with Saigon and we’re becoming bored with our routines. We go to work each day, have lunch at the same old places, battle with traffic on the way home and then usually have an early night for work the next day. It’s almost like being home in Australia, except I can’t cuddle my boyfriend and I sometimes see people defecating in the streets as I walk to the office. But I have to admit, in between the boring bits, I have continued to discover and learn some new and wonderful things. Here is a collection of photographs picturing some of my experiences, discoveries and lessons over the past month. Oh, and by the way, I’ve broken out of the lull period again now and can’t wait for the month ahead!

My heart was warmed as I met friendly Vietnamese people while riding through the countryside in Soc Trang in south Vietnam. My friend, Jess, gave me a motorbike tour as she has been living in Soc Trang for the past few months.

I went to my very first Vietnamese wedding, for my colleague Thuy, and it was very memorable. There were around 400 guests, loads of glitter and sparkles, stage performances, seven courses of food and it was all over in just an hour and a half!

I took a boat to explore Can Tho River and was heartbroken by the poverty of hundreds of families in fishing villages. Families living in houses similar to the one pictured have trouble accessing clean water and don't have sanitary toilets.

During Shea's recent visit, we tried 'Birds Nest' drink which is exactly what the name suggests: it consists of sweet syrup and birds nests!

I became sick of floods over the past month. Flooding in HCMC is caused by high tides in the rivers, heavy rain fall (during current raining season) and very poor drainage systems.

I discovered my local pet shop on a street around the corner. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, a nearby pile of dead goldfish was evidence that many fish can't survive days in the sun.

I discovered Caz Bar and smoked my first shisha! Caz Bar has a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the cathedral.

I have been to a few great music gigs, which are rare in Saigon due to very few appropriate venues. Pictured is Mouse on Mars at The Youth Cultural Centre.

I started looking around more closely at my local markets and realised frogs and turtles are readily available for fresh meals. I previously thought they would be harder to find and more expensive.

By Marissa Toohey

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