Greetings from Vietnam!
I’m writing from a very chic French cafe, L’usine in the middle of Saigon — a thriving city with 8 million residents. There are also about 8 million scooters who try (unsuccessfully, so far) to hit Mai and me each time we cross a street (my video of crossing a Saigon street). I wish I were kidding — but crossing a street (often four+ lanes wide) is like Frogger.
The food is amazing! I hardly know any of the dishes, but they’re often a stir fry or cooked in clay pots. But we’ve also had the staples, like banh mi sandwiches and pho — definitely had the best pho here! I also tried a huge ass crepe — from a street vendor, which may also be why I got sick. Or it could’ve been the tap water I used for brushing my teeth. In was inevitable as I do not have Mai’s stomach of steel.
The language is tough. I’ve only mastered hello and thank you and even then they smile when I say it…like that’s so cute, but you’re way off. I’m very, very, very lucky to have my own personal tour guide, who speaks the language and turns heads wherever we go. Mai stands about a head above the rest, literally. Good thing she’s still clumsy and forgetful — otherwise, it might go to her head.
The primary reason we’re here is to work on TravelCat. We have a stellar team of developers — young, smart and hardworking. There are 7 of them dedicated to our website and mobile app. We also have amazing designers, Jin & Jana — from Seattle. They are helping us to make one of the most unique and charming travel sites. We’re over the moon with their work.
I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to grow, discover and experience so many wonderful new things.
Thank you to my fellow traveler, business partner and friend: Mai Hoang.
Julie in Seattle
PS: It’s hot as hell here + the most humid you can imagine. I don’t recommend coming to SE Asia in the summer. I melt each time we leave the hotel. I hope imagine that the consummate sauna is a good start for my weight loss.
PPS: We went to McDonald’s for lunch — it’s enormous and the decor is way different — very modern. They call it “Mac dO land” — I’ll post some photos on Instagram.
PPS: I feel like a millionaire here — 1 million dong = $50 USD. You know I’m such a big spender so I’ve pulled about 8 million dong so far. Most meals are less than $25 (for 2 of us), including drinks. We got body scrubs and massages (60 min) for $25 each.