Saigon, Vietnam: So far. So good.

More often than not, people tend to agree on destinations, even if it’s, “nice place to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there.” (A sentiment that’s always bugged me, as the person is basically insulting everyone who lives there.)  But for Vietnam, the reactions are all over the place. Even Kennedy had two advisors who gave such conflicting reports of their (simultaneous) trips to Vietnam, he asked, “The two of you did visit the same country, didn’t you?” (read about it here.)

Since I got here Wednesday, I’ve been a little on edge. I’m basically trying to look “normal” and relaxed, while my guard’s way up. I’ve met plenty of women traveling alone, so it seems to be relatively safe. The worst that happens is getting pick-pocketed or a bag/camera snatched; I haven’t heard of any physical altercations. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I was preparing for a more dangerous, predatory, aggressive Saigon than what I’ve actually encountered.

So far, I’ve met some really sweet people who seem especially curious about foreigners, because their government makes it so hard – basically impossible – for them to travel abroad. (More on that soon.)

This is not my video, but I immediately recognize it as steps from where I’m staying. (My hostel is in an alley off that market.) Of the photos I’ve taken so far, this one looks the most like the permanent tornado of mopeds, pedestrians, tourists, stray dogs and people wheeling things down the street.

Here are some other pics from around my neighborhood:

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