The Truth About Living in Saigon

Hammering down the points raised by Sh*t Expats in Hanoi Say

1.  Yes, finding clothing in size L or XL is like finding a needle in the haystack here in Vietnam.  And even if you do, you’d feel really, really bad when you know you’re size S or M in your home country.  Like I am!  I swear to God!  Cross my heart and hope to die! 😛

2.  Most English-speaking expats are automatically typecast as either an IS, ESL or TOEFL teacher here.  Hehe.

3.  Because paying a housekeeper is affordable, most expats do have a nanny or a housekeeper.  But if you have one and can afford it, please pay them right — especially if they bring invaluable help to your household.

4.  It gets cold in Hanoi but in Saigon — dang it’s just so hot here.  ALL THE TIME!  Whoever wrote the song with the line, “The heat is on in Saigon” knows what he’s saying.

5.  No matter how many times you try, you won’t perfectly say the right words in Vietnamese in the right tone!  With 6 different tonalities, how can you get to say anything right?  Right?

6.  Yup, you can enroll and learn the Vietnamese language — but isn’t sign language more fun?  Hehe!

7.  I do hang out with the locals as every expat in Vietnam should!  But you have got to admit that there’s a threshold especially with the different accents.

8.  In a salon while I was having a foot massage — yup I’ve been here long enough to understand Vietnamese so I KNOW when they’re talking about me!  And no!  I don’t have hairy legs!

9.  I do love Vietnamese food BUT after 3 years?  I can use a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae. 😦

10.  From where I live in Saigon, there’s not much roosters around that I would need earplugs BUT the construction on the upper floors serves as my alarm clock all the time!  Grrrr!

11.  Conversations with fellow expats always begin with, “How long have you lived here?”  Or in our case, “Pinoy ka rin?”  Obvious ba eh nag-Tatagalog ako!  

12.  Being an expat — I can easily point out tourists.  But who am I kidding?  I’m just a tourist with a residence certificate.  And yes, don’t stop me from taking photos because I still am in constant awe of this wondrous city!

13.  Massage.  Spa.  Nail spa.  ‘Nuff said.  I mean all expats indulge in this.  Plus yoga.  Plus gym.  There are just so many of that here!

14.  I don’t know about Hanoi but I think Saigon has lots of hot Westerners.  LOL.  Oh wait.  That was on TV!

15.  There’s just so few English magazines around.  It’s so sad.  I thank God for Oi Vietnam, Asia Life and The Word.  And they’re free too!

16.  The motorbike situation everywhere in Vietnam is the only thing that keeps every expat feel alive!  Isn’t it great to get home from work every day alive and whole?  It makes me feel close to my Creator!

17.  Surprisingly, it can be really cheap or really expensive in Vietnam.  Food is cheap but man, the taxi fare has gone up!

18.  And so true, if you have an opportunity to strike a bargain, haggle to your heart’s content!

a couple more…

19.  Saigon (or Vietnam) is the only place I know where people can walk around with face masks and you need not be afraid that you’re going to be mugged.  However, I just hate talking to people with face masks because I really can’t understand what they’re saying!

20.  When what you’re buying (say, prepaid load for your phone) is out of stock, the Vietnamese will say in English, “Finished” or “Finished already.”  No use correcting them (although what they’re saying isn’t really wrong) — it’s just that some other terms would sound better.   Who cares, right?  It’s same-same anyway!

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20 Responses to The Truth About Living in Saigon

  1. KikiPBN says:

    So TRUE!…I like it, thanks very much for the post about Saigon-The South of Vietnam, by the way reading your post helped me to improve my English…I wish I could speak English fluency as you 😉 Have a nice day your self, stay happy and keep smiling ^^

    • Lyra says:

      Thank you! Glad I could help you somehow! My English isn’t perfect all the time — I hate editing! 😀

      • KikiPBN says:

        Come on, no one is PERFECT…With me, just practice and you can do whatever you want ^^ We have no special talents, we are only passionately curious 😉

  2. Dani says:

    Lyra, I have a MASSIVE stack of old mags you are welcome to. I was wondering what to do with them!

  3. Nigel says:

    U know what? It’s actually so true, but there’s a big big number of local people now in Saigon who own western gestures are trying to access the world and develop the country. English will be no more the good choice for expats’ job as a language teacher in a few more years. To me, living in Vietnam seems to be so so easy as u know how to adapt with local people who are so much more friendly than any other citizens in Asia.

    • Lyra says:

      True, there are a lot of jobs in Vietnam outside teaching language. This same people however — these teachers are paving the way for the Vietnamese to explore other careers. We have to face that some courses/studies are best taught in English. I remember my husband’s company having to hire someone outside Vietnam — a Statistician because Statistics isn’t offered in universities here and therefore, they couldn’t find a Vietnamese college graduate that was qualified for the job.

      Also, expats should also learn the Vietnamese language even if it’s just a little. 🙂 And I agree, the Vietnamese are a friendly people!

  4. AshAne MiLey says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, thanks! 🙂 Greetings from Hanoi to Saigon
    Anemi

  5. Kenny says:

    I like what you wrote in this post 🙂
    Anyway , Kumusta ?

  6. Lyra says:

    It means: “I’m good.” or “I’m in a good state.” 😉

  7. Agree with #14! 😀 Nice post Lyra, congrats 🙂

  8. “The motorbike situation everywhere in Vietnam is the only thing that keeps every expat feel alive!” >>> I like this comment. You remind me of my friends from Australia who never dare to sit behind me on my motorbike. LOL. But riding a motorbike or sitting on a motorbike is not that scary, right ?

    • Lyra says:

      I guess it depends where you’re riding the motorbike. Things can get pretty hairy when you’re in the busy district! 🙂 And even if you’re not on one — and you’re just crossing the street amidst the bikes — it is scary!

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