Life hacking Vietnam

Every day is a learning experience in Vietnam. Travel or live here, and you can’t help but learn new stuff on an almost daily basis. Things maybe Vietnamese people take for granted, so here are my latest top ten observations.

In festivals in Vietnam, the dragon is always yellow and the lion is red. Red and yellow are considered a lucky colour combination. That’s why you see so many business signs in these colours. Waving cats are also considered lucky and good for business.

Never pay a bill on the first of the lunar month or you will be doling out your cash for the rest of the month. Whatever you do on the first day is what you are destined to do for the rest of the month.

Sooner or later, you will be the only Tay at a Vietnamese wedding. Bad men will try to get you drunk on rice wine and Vietnamese vodka. Trust me on this.

Acquiring a Vietnamese wife automatically means you gain 10kg in weight. It’s the rules.

None of the Hanoi bus drivers are particularly smooth. This is due in large part to Ninja Leads cutting up the bus. However, taking that into account, there is clearly still a section of bus drivers whose only previous experience of public transport was hijacking buses on Grand Theft Auto.

What do security guards think about all day? Apparently, it’s how endless the day is and the pollution, according to my bảo vệ insider. Kinda sad. The most precious thing they have – time – is being shortened further by breathing in Hanoi pollution for 15 hours a day.

Red number plates are Army and blue are government vehicles. NG signifies a vehicle registered to an Embassy. AA on a registration plate means the motorbike is registered to a student. This latter I am not 100% on.

“Wait for me five minutes,” means anywhere between 30 seconds and half an hour.

“Where are you going?” actually means “Do you have time to stop and chat?” It’s not really an enquiry about your intended destination.

If you find your Vietnamese is difficult for others to understand just explain that you are “nhà quê” (pro. nya qway from the country). This will buy you some slack for your rubbish pronunciation and explain the need for your tieng Viet to be subtitled.


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