Afew things I’ve observed so far here:

Items for sale: There are people selling what they claim are dog tags from American soldiers left here after the war.

Bus Departures: When you catch a bus here for a longer trip they always have people board at the bus station then pull around the corner (usually about 20 meters away) then wait upwards of 40 minutes for people to board at the second spot. I can’t make any sense of it.

Associations: As soon as the typical Vietnamese person becomes familiar with you they sort of regard you as in their loop. Their behaviour towards you becomes completely different, warmer. This happens fairly quickly here. In Korea the same thing exists. Once you’re in their circle they treat you almost like a cousin. This process takes a very long time in Korea compared to Vietnam. In Japan they pretty much just seem to eventually resign themselves to the necessity of your presence.

Dogs: In Japan if the temperature drops below 10 degrees celcius they put little boots and jackets on their dogs. Doggy spas do pretty good business there. In Vietnam their attitude towards canines seems to be pretty similar to that typical in the west. I’ve seen people of all ages playing and cuddling with the family pup. Probably best not to go into what Koreans do to dogs.

Governing Economy: This place is communist politically but very free market economically. Most people here work extremely hard 7 days a week. I may be doing a bit of web design for a guy who owns 6 different businesses. He’s quite wealthy. I accidentally came very close to walking onto a secure ‘party’ compound. Strutted in like I owned the place. I thought it was a hotel. The guard at the gate very excitedly used body language to instruct me to leave. Yes sir. No sir. Three cups full sir. They love their AK-47s, those guards.

Voice overs: When you watch a foreign film or TV show here all of the voice overs are done by the same voice for the film. Man, woman, child all speak in the same voice as you watch. It can get a little hard to follow what’s going on when the speaking character is not onscreen.

Apocalypse Now: The surf at China Beach does not break both ways. It barely breaks at all. When offered a ‘girl, lady boom boom?’ they sometimes understand when I respond ‘Me too beaucoup.’

Couples Traveling: It must be tough to do Southeast Asia as a couple. Seriously 80 % of the backpacking straight couples who have been in my proximity seem to be having a spat about something.