I’ve been here in Ho Chi Minh City now for 4 months, and, while that’s not a very long time, it’s long enough for me to develop some favorite things and some not so favorite things. Usually, it takes me a couple times before I decide, definitively, NO THANK YOU. And, ranked, here they are.

Have you been to Saigon? What are some of your favorites/not at all favorites? I’m curious if these are typical culture shock things or if I’m just developing personal tastes. Leave me notes in the comments!

Read on for a listicle (ugh, hate that word… but it’s applicable):

Favorite things:

  1. Seafood Fried Rice
    • All seafood fried rice is not created equal; some has lots of seafood, and some pad it with carrots. Both are awesome. I can basically have it once a month because of the gout.
    1. Riding My Bike
      • There is nothing better than flying down the street on a bike. You’re basically invincible on a bike. It probably helps that I’ve yet to see an accident here in HCMC, but, for now, ignorance is bliss… and safety is always observed. EDIT: rode over the chalk outline of a dead person from a bike accident today – jarring. Maybe this is in the wrong list.
      1. Cheap Food
        • It’s cheap. It’s plentiful. It’s healthy. It’s fresh. There’s little to dislike about food here. Even the most expensive meals rarely go above $10 USD.
        1. My House
          • My house is a concrete box. But I have permission to paint, which is going to be a lot of fun. The planning is in full force.
          1. The People
            • They really are quite friendly, although I’ve discovered that they’ll rarely say anything negative to your face.
            1. Meeting New Traveling Friends
              • This is last on my list, but it’s by far the most important. I’m a shy person and it takes me a long time to get to know people and settle into a place. Hopefully we can create a great, comfortable environment for all of us to thrive in.

              Not Favorite Things:

              1. Riding My Bike
                • It’s dangerous at any time, plus it’s the rainy season. I may not have seen an accident yet, but they’re out there. From drunk drivers to overloaded bikes, the dangers are everywhere.
              2. Going to My Co-op
                • To the genius to made the rolling shopping baskets much wider then longer – please go stand in aforementioned traffic.
              3. Trying to Communicate
                • I’m able to say simple phrases now (I like to think) and I try to use them in everyday situations with native Viets. This almost never goes well. My listening and speaking is still at a terribly low level.
              4. Trying to Find Common Items to Purchase
                • I never did find that razor charger myself, my old roommate knew a guy who knew a place. I’ve been trying to find a hammock with a stand for over a month (everyone has one!! Where do they get them?!).
              5. Clubbing
                • I hate clubbing. Europeans seem to love it. Give me a bar with a good jukebox, cheap drinks and a noise level that allows conversation and you’ve got yourself a deal.
              6. The Climate
                • It’s really hot here (no surprise). Surprisingly, I seem to be acclimating to the heat, as I no longer sweat through ALL of my dress shirt at work, only most of it. On top of this all, it’s the heat and humidity that has been interfering with my ability to heal, or so says my doctor. I look like a leper right now, and my wounds don’t seem to be able to heal as well as at home.