18) Sirens. You can tell how important the person being transported in an ambulance is by the volume of the sirens. The louder the sirens, the more important the patient is. As if eh?!
19) Facebook. An example of how Communists control, Facebook is blocked in VN. Easiest way to get around – free proxy websites.
20) Converting currency. This service is usually offered at higher end hotels. If not, it’s pretty easy to get your money exchanged without too much worrying. Find a gold/jewellery store (it has to be gold, not just any random jewellery). Many places will post daily exchange rates for gold and CAD/US dollars. If you are satisfied with the rates, just ask them to exchange! (Find a privately owned store on the streets, not one in upscale malls! ;))
You should know how to find a gold store… IT WILL BE GOLD. If it doesn’t look anything like the picture below… go find a place that does!
21) Staring. Be prepared for lots of staring and hushed whispering. Doesn’t matter if you’re Asian, even Vietnamese. Locals can tell you’re a foreigner by your looks, your clothes and the way you carry yourself. As soon as you open your mouth to talk, you’re done. Vietnamese people love to gossip and talk about others, don’t be surprised to hear that you were the center of a conservation held by people you don’t even know.
22) Bargaining. Always always bargain when you are buying because you can be sure you’re being ripped off, especially when you’re a foreigner. Perhaps you don’t find it as a rip-off because the prices are cheaper than anything you can find here, but it’s a culture thing. You are expected to bargain, if you don’t, you are considered a fool. People will not take offense if you bargain, they will either accept your offer or they won’t. Markets always have at least 10 other stalls selling the same items, if you think you can get it cheaper at another stall, go check it out. You can always come back and buy later. And it is never a bad idea to go shopping with a local and have him/her bargain for you!
And that marks the end of my OBSERVING VIETNAM posts!
I hope you learned something, because that would just be cool 🙂