Leaving behind the sleepy slumbers of Laos, we've taken a trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, Northern Vietnam. When you travel to Vietnam you will quickly realise you have left your comfort zones on the plane. Crossing one intersection takes fifty looks each way and a swishing movement of the hips as flying motorbikes wizz past within inches of your bottom. Apparently around 5 million scooters are within the city center everyday.
Every day brings new discoveries but one thing is sure, you will become familiar with toothless grins from old men to kids hawking chewing gum, and soon be using phrases like "bum gun" and "what the pho?". Our work office for the past week has had some pretty spectacular views, we have enjoyed working on your design projects from Vietnam. So here's six hilarious things we have learnt from Vietnam and feel you all should know. Please like, share, spread the word or just leave a "hello" in the comments below.
1. YOU WILL EAT AND EAT AND EAT
The most amazing food you will eat comes from the street corner and is eaten on plastic stools. Just when you think stools don't come any smaller, picture your knees at ear level, and dare you not move an inch of your stool or limbs into the neighboring restaurants patch of sidewalk. Vietnamese fast food is fresh and healthy, you should try banh cuon, bun bo hue and fresh fruit smoothies.
3. YOU WILL GET AN ADRENALIN RUSH CROSSING THE STREET
It might look like a mine field but the road rules are simple you just follow the traffic lights - Green means go, Orange means go and Red means you can still go. So to cross the street - just treat it as if you're having a dance or waltz to the symphony of a thousand horns - your hips sway, your feet are stop-start- stop-start and your hands up like stop signs.
5. YOU WILL BE CALLED "YOU-MOTORBIKE-YOU" DAILY
Motorbike taxi's are popular because they obey no road rules, and arrive early. They go when the lights are red, and have free reign of sidewalks, ally ways and intersections. One way streets don't really mean one way, and I'm pretty sure 'risk' hasn't quite found its way into the Vietnamese dictionary. They will shout out to you from all directions and call you by name " you-motorbike-you! or " you-taxi-you!"". Don't be alarmed...they are friendly.
2. YOU WILL BE A MILLIONAIRE!!
Vietnamese Dong has so many zeros, when you draw cash or exchange money for the first time, there is a celebratory dance for becoming a millionaire. The smallest note is 1,000 Dong, so even if you're poor, you've still got thousands. When you go for a meal or a shop at the market, you start throwing the 100,000 dong note around like a dollar.
4. YOU WILL HEAR PHO AND SEE A BILLION SIGNS ADVERTISING PHO
Vietnamese language has many tones for the same word, a subtle change in tone could mean a naughty word. One word you will hear and see written everywhere is '"pho"'. But how do you say PhUUH? Foe? Fo? Fuh? Faux? Fu-o? It turns out its fuh like the start of the four letter word which rhymes with duck and means noodle soup. Hence comes the phrase "what the Pho?"
6. YOU WILL LOVE THE BUM GUN
Like other Asian countries, Vietnam has those wonderful high pressure water hoses that come free with most toilets. Toilet paper? what toilet paper? Its found on dining tables for serviettes, in the kitchen for paper towel and is only useful in the bathroom if your hostel doesn't provide towels. The 'bum gun' can be quite useful in blasting spiders and giant cockroaches off your walls, water blasting your shoes or mold off the tiles or squirting your partner. Toilets at home will never be the same without this super soaker.