(Written by Her)
It took a lot longer than expected if we’re honest. We had this preconceived idea that Westerners, who meet in foreign countries, would be much more friendly and welcoming than your average person. In reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our first weeks in Vietnam we always said ‘Hello’ to foreigners who we passed in the street or in our hotel. I mean - come on, we know you’re foreign, you know I’m foreign, we’re far from home, let’s get on! At least 70% of the time our friendly ‘hellos’ were (are) met with silence. To our surprise, we found that most Westerners, with the exception of a few German couples, don’t want to know us.
Traveller 1: Well-to-do Ted
Ted is aged anywhere from 35 to 65. He is usually Australian, (no offence) and is in Vietnam on a very nice luxury 2 week holiday. You see, Ted’s money goes much further in Vietnam than it would in Oz so he is spending like it's going out of style. Ted is staying in a 5* hotel, eats in overpriced restaurants and is accompanied by a guide everywhere but the shower! Ted’s guide opens doors for him, buys attraction tickets for him, even fans him when he’s too warm! From what I've seen, Ted's an ass (again, no offence). We have NOTHING in common with Ted.
Traveller 2: Party-girl Jen
There are quite a few Jen’s in Hanoi. Travelling presumably on Mum and Dad’s dime, Jen is usually between 19 and 22 years old. She is excited by the cheap beer, particularly buy 1 get 1 free happy hour. Her hotel is decent and in the centre of all the hustle and bustle, which doesn’t seem to prevent her from sleeping until 3pm each day. Jen is only getting going at 10pm after a few cocktails. Sometimes, the remnants of the night before are visible on poor Jen's body: bruised legs, scratched knees, even broken bones! Temples are not really her thing, I’m not entirely sure she would be allowed in wearing those hot pants anyway! We have NOTHING in common with Jen!
Traveller 3: Hippy Sally
Sally is usually between 20 and 30. She has been travelling for years, to be honest, she can’t remember what it was like before she was a wanderer. Her entire outfit has been purchased in markets somewhere in the developing world. She has tattoos, a piercing or 2, usually some lightening (sun-in style) wavy hair. We mistakenly thought that we may find a home with Sally. Maybe have some interesting conversations about travel, culture, food! Not quite, you see Sally is not what she appears. While Sally has travelled extensively and looks as though she was born from the earth, rising from the dust with no money or direction. The truth is, Sally actually spends a pretty penny, but is less likely to wash than young Jen. Sally stays in pretty nice Hotels, takes taxis, drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney and can usually be found grazing away from food stand to food stand not far from her room. In short, Sally talks a lot of S**t. (maybe we have something in common with Sally after all? Just kidding!)
‘Be kind to yourself’, it’s okay, you won't regret it.