The worldwide Augustana College experience

Tạm Biệt Sàigòn

[^That means Goodbye Saigon^]

We’re leaving Saigon tomorrow (Sunday morning) for the Mekong Delta. It’s going to be a three day trip in which we have a one night home stay and one night in a hotel before driving to the airport and heading to Hue (which is pretty close to the DMZ). [so if you don’t hear from anyone for a while, know that we probably won’t have internet access like we have for the week we’ve been gone] This means that today (Saturday) is our last day in Saigon. I think I speak for everyone in our group when I say I’m going to miss this place.

We found out today that Saigon was chosen for our first city because it most closely resembles NYC or Chicago and most people speak English, which has been really nice. Our hotel was beautiful and we stayed in the nicest neighborhood in the entire country (District 1 HCMC). I’ve found several things surprising on the trip so far:

  • Saigon is really a melting pot when it comes to foods. There’s one corner where you can see an Irish Pub, Brazilian steakhouse, Coffee shop and Pizza hut on each corner. You can look down the block and see cooks grilling meat on a makeshift grill, serving to men in business suits while they sit on dirty stools.
  • Our group likes to travel in as a whole whenever possible which makes things really interesting because there are 21 students on this trip. Given, we usually have to break up into groups of 10 or so students in order to eat at any given place, but when we go out at night everyone usually tags along.
  • People are a lot more friendly and open to talking to us than I anticipated. Last night a group of us girls got lost on our way to a restaurant and the locals were happy to practice their English in order to point us in the right direction.
  • They really mean it when they say Vietnam is a young country. I feel like most of the families I see consist of a mom and dad that might be a few years older than the students on this trip, along with their young children. About 1/6 of the people I see is over the age of 35.
  • They also mean it when they say the traffic is scary. Whatever you do, don’t stop once you’ve started crossing the street. Or else.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say once we’ve traveled to the Mekong, but for now I have nothing to compare Saigon to except for the U.S. Have a good weekend, Augustana!

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