Thailand and Vietnam have some things in common...they're both in Asia (obviously) and over time, have been home to some of the same ethnic tribes. And, each have given and taken from the Mon Khmer language in years gone by. But they are very different.
After having been in Thailand now for 9 months, I guess one tends to notice, well, odd, trivial or smaller differences when travelling to another country.
In Vietnam you might find....
'Men and Women's Shampoo' may not actually mean Men and Women's Shampoo - I wish I had a photo of the seven or so young beautiful women, all dressed in the same sexy outfits and all squished onto a 4 seater sofa in the shop front windows.
Buddha's been replaced in many cases with Quan Âm, the Goddess of Mercy.
Thousands of ankle high plastic stools
A white line in the centre of the footpath - depending on which town/city you're in and if the sidewalk is wide enough, motorbikes get one side and pedestrians, the other. Otherwise it's open slather.
That you think you can pronounce the words
Some of the car horns sound a lot like the 6 Million Dollar Man in slow motion
It now costs around the same as Thailand
A lot more...
Bread - real bread and baguettes, without sugar! Yay.
Red meat - more meat period. Frog, beef, goat, ostrich...you name it
Long pointed fingernails - on the fellas. Too many theories to speculate about
Bare shoulders - contradictory to the extreme measures taken to stay out of the sun
Boobs - they're bigger, and a big thank you to Stray for noticing
Zeros - the Vietnamese Dong is incredibly over naughted (1 000 000 VND was worth approx. AU$50 or less)
Scooters and motorcycles - no precise figures but it's estimated that there is one bike per 4.5 people and growing. Population, pushing 90 million. Videos on Cooee.
Horn honking - it's the Vietnamese way of saying 'Excuse me, I'm coming through"
Ponytail helmets - not helmets with fake ponytails attached, but helmets with a hole for your own ponytail. And, darn it, I didn't get a photo, but our lovely friend Thanh emailed me this.
Shouting - not angry shouting, just people raising their voices naturally or calling out
A lot less...
7-11s - none that we saw, but they do have their own version, US based Circle K's popping up all over town. Nice to see they display the staff photos and rosters for your viewing pleasure. Stalking made easy!
Monks And Temples
Squat Toilets - Joy!
Chilli And Sugar
Soi Dogs - hardly any. Double joy!
Spirit houses or hallowed taxi dashboards - but you will see shrines and ancestral alters inside homes and buildings
Smiles - no surprise there, after all, Thailand is the smiliest place in the world.
Bike mirrors - Most seem to be sold without them...I suppose they're likely to get knocked off anyway and makes it easier to ride through narrow spaces. And, lets face it, like in Thailand, if you're in front you don't have to look behind anyway.
That there aren't any...
Ladyboys - they're well and truly in the closet, wherever they are.
That you'll have the time of your life...
|About to pig out, yet again.|
I must say it brought a grin to my face when we arrived back in Bangkok airport, to see a hefty young Thai guy dressed in snug fitting pencil jeans, virtually skipping, frantically across the floor, waving and yelling a dramatic (female's hello) "Sawadee khaaaaaa, sawadee khaaaaaa".