Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Concern Yourself With as a Foreigner in Saigon

Before we moved to Vietnam, my weekday schedule would be to wake up at 5 am (if I couldn’t reach the furiously noisy alarm clock) or so (if I can still hit the snooze button), then to be out of the house hopefully at 6 am (yeah right!) to get to work at 8 am. Yes, we live in the suburbs plus the hopeless traffic in Manila means a 2-hour drive (each way) on a good day.

So my companion would be the radio or a book (I can finish a whole book just by reading during the traffic stops and I can even take a nap). Back in my university days, I’d listen to The Morning Rush (TMR) at RX 93.1 hosted by Chico and Delamar. Now, it’s with Gino Quillamor too. They kept me sane from crazy long drives to school then — and then to work. Needless to say, I was majorly updated with the latest music and entertainment news.

Fast forward to moving here in HCMC, I fell out of sync with what’s new on the radio. I really have no clue what English radio stations to listen to here in Vietnam. Checking, I couldn’t find any that states they play songs in English. But don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard quite a few Vietnamese songs that sound really, really good.

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So what’s the point of this entry?

After finding a way to listen to my favorite radio show, TMR chose my Top 10 topic for today. You see, every morning, 5 days a week, this radio show picks the Top 10 topic that listeners can send their entry. Today, it was Top 10 Problema Na Di Dapat Pinoproblema. On Twitter, it’s #ProblemaNaDiDapatPinoproblema. In English, Top 10 Problems That You Really Shouldn’t Problemized Concern Yourself With. My example was, “Why is it when it’s time to sleep, my hair looks like it just got out of the salon?” Well, not the exact translation but the thought is more or less the same.

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Anyway, I’ve been listening to that show forever and it’s only now that I got a topic in. Just giddy to wake up hearing my name get some air time. 😛

Here are some entries:

 photo rx2_zps71527c2f.pngJust for fun, here’s my Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Concern Yourself With as a Foreigner in Saigon:

  1. Why is there a motorbike driving beside me on the sidewalk? (Don’t you know? It’s the alternative route!)
  2. Am I drinking a bleached coconut? (Too late. You’re already drinking it.)
  3. Why is it every time I go for Vietnamese cuisine, my table looks like a jungle?
  4. When eating in Cholon: “Is there MSG on my food?” (What do you think?)
  5. Why are there 4 or 5 people on the motorbike? Why is that child standing on the bike?
  6. Why aren’t they wearing helmets?
  7. Why is it so chaotic to drive in Saigon? (It’s Saigon!)
  8. When buying goods in Saigon, why is the price different for a foreigner and a local? (Because.)
  9. Why isn’t there a McDonald’s in Vietnam? (Well, check back in 2014.)
  10. Why can’t I remit money via Western Union without having to show my work contract? (Sigh. Just bring the darn contract already.)

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7 Responses to Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Concern Yourself With as a Foreigner in Saigon

  1. Fab post. Why is my table a jungle? What a laugh. Feel like I’m in Sai Gon already. OMG McDs and Dunkin Donuts! Poor Ho Chi Minh. Domino’s to come I expect.

    • Lyra says:

      Robert, Domino’s here already! Every fastfood chain wants to join the party!

      • I’ll take Mimi’s and good old bun cha every time. Amazingly McDs and KFC is the place to be seen in some developing countries Venezuela and India come to mind. They are in the fat-delivery business. I like jungles at table the best. Wicked posts by you.

  2. noelleisme says:

    The answers for them 😀
    1. Why is there a motorbike driving beside me on the sidewalk? (Don’t you know? It’s the alternative route!) -> Cos they just wanted to move faster, they don’t want to stop driving when they saw the Red light on 😀
    2. Am I drinking a bleached coconut? (Too late. You’re already drinking it.) -> Bleached coconut? You meant that it was bland, isn’t it? Sorry a bit silly, bleached coconut uses for enthralling your eyes (We say No bụng đói con mắt :D, it meant you didn’t want to eat/drink anymore, but those eye-catching dishes/drink passed over your brain -> you will buy it to suit your hungry eyes for nothing, not for your tum)
    3. Why is it every time I go for Vietnamese cuisine, my table looks like a jungle? -> That was embarrassing, but they will clean it after they saw their new guests (some restaurant like this) 😀
    4. When eating in Cholon: “Is there MSG on my food?” (What do you think?) -> No answer for this one, I live in Hanoi 😥
    5. Why are there 4 or 5 people on the motorbike? Why is that child standing on the bike? -> They are close friends, and they wanted to save $…(no xe om = money saving HAHAH ^^), and the child prefer to stand on the bikes…quite easy, some parent or those child wanna be “famous” in some cases, people will look at them anyway 😀
    6. Why aren’t they wearing helmets? -> Cos the helmets looked like the multi rice cooker, hot and heavy :D, especially they are too lazy to carry out them.
    7. Why is it so chaotic to drive in Saigon? (It’s Saigon!) -> The same in Hanoi, they just wanted to move faster anyway, no traffic light was the best for them, they thought it’s complicated to wait for the Green light.
    8. When buying goods in Saigon, why is the price different for a foreigner and a local? (Because.) -> They think the foreigners are richer than the locals so… 😀
    9. Why isn’t there a McDonald’s in Vietnam? (Well, check back in 2014.) -> I don’t know.
    10. Why can’t I remit money via Western Union without having to show my work contract? (Sigh. Just bring the darn contract already.) -> They wanted to ensure that you are the good expats 😀

    It’s my mind cos I am a local, there will have something wrong, but I just shared what I know ^^

    • Lyra says:

      Thanks for this! I like the quirks of Vietnam. This is an interesting country. On the jungle thing I was referring to the many vegetables always served when ordering Vietnamese cuisine.

  3. kristine says:

    this website helps me a lot.. haha.. thumbs up! 🙂

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