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Posts tagged ‘Phu Quoc’

Vietnam, Part 4: Emergence in Hanoi

This is a the Duong Dong day market. Notice how many motorbikes are in this picture. That is INSIDE the market, like next to all the food. Northern Californian hippies wouldn't be too thrilled...

This is the Duong Dong day market. Notice how many motorbikes are in this picture. That is INSIDE the market, like next to all the food. Northern Californian hippies wouldn’t be too thrilled…

Crossing the street in Vietnam is a feat of derring-do. I’m sure there are areas of China or Indonesia with an even greater degree of clusterfuckery, but Vietnam’s driving conditions are certainly deserving of mention. In most cities, the problem is congestion—how quickly you can move through the urban system—because too many cars, SUVs, and busses will collapse a roadway like a blood clot in an artery. However, when the dominant mode of transportation is the moped, a full-scale collapse is virtually impossible because mopeds are both maneuverable enough and compact enough to fit through impossible gaps in even the worst traffic. In these situations, the problem isn’t congestion; it’s chaos. If you’ve been to Rome, you’ve got an idea of what I’m talking about, but Vietnam is an order of magnitude more chaotic than Italy, Europe’s most moped addicted country. Read more

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Vietnam, Part 3: Phu Quoc

After the hustle bustle of Ho Chi Minh and the cognitive dissonance of the Cu Chi tunnels, HCB and I shifted gears, boarding a plane to Phu Quoc, a tropical island off the southernmost coast of Vietnam know for its relaxed atmosphere and fine vintages of fish sauce. The island is just a series of white-sand beaches, bathwater-warm oceans, lush forests, and froufrou fruit drinks with silly umbrellas. For me, the island lacked the epic vistas that have drawn me to eco-tourism in the past, so in some ways, Phu Quoc with its human-sized natural attractions fell the tiniest bit short of my wildest dreams. HCB, on the other hand, was in paradise. Just seeing the joy on his face as he bobbed in the waves… it could break a guy’s heart, it was so sweet. He’s usually consumed by a long list of worries, but when he’s out there with his fish, he’s just about as contented as I ever see him. Seriously, you guys, if his university offered underwater classes, I think he’d hold office hours all day long. Read more