- Food hygiene. Don’t get me wrong, I love picking up dinner for a cool 20,000 dong (roughly equivalent to 20p). However, when you see that your meal is that of the raw meat which has been cooking in the 35-degree sun, sitting on a piece of cardboard next to a busy motorway you start to turn a little green. Not to mention the extremely poor conditions that the animals live in. Tiny cages entrapping about 10 animals that stew and cry all day in the sweltering heat. Honestly enough to invoke a vegetarian moment in anyone.
2. Cheese. Baked Camembert to be precise.
3. Road laws. Absolutely anything goes here. Missed your turning? Just drive up the wrong way of a busy motorway. Pulling out to merge onto the road? Don’t look. Need to cram the whole family on a bike and go so slowly your almost going backwards? Do so in the middle of the road and don’t yield to anyone.
4. Those long summer nights drinking wine in your favorite pub. Here, it gets dark every day at 6 o’clock and nights are mostly spent sitting on a plastic chair on a pavement tucking into budget Tiger beer.
5. Country air and walks. Vietnam is a rapidly developing country and with that comes an onslaught of people and bikes. The air is ridiculously polluted and if you don’t wear a mask, being caught behind a bus honking out black smoke is a horrible experience.
6. Seasons. Frost. Snow. Colored leaves.
7. Being able to cross the road without fearing for your life. Zebra crossings have no authority here, so you have to pick a quieter spot of the road, put your blinkers on and walk. Motorbikes will anticipate your movements and swerve around you, as long as you don’t get scared and hesitate – that’s how you get hit. When in doubt, close your eyes, stick up your hand, brace yourself and always keep walking.
8. Hummus. Niche, but it is impossible to find good hummus anywhere.