Despite the crazy traffic, constant cacophony of horns, and walking 3 to 6 miles a day for two and a half weeks at this point, I have yet to see a collision. I’ve seen countless close calls, and I know the statistics in Vietnam are high, but for all the texting while biking, driving on the sidewalk, busses that won’t stop, etc, it seems reasonably safe. *Edit* of course as soon as I wrote that we see an accident. A car hit a girl on a motor bike. She was a little stunned but overall okay.
There seem to be almost no beggars. Everyone is selling something and a slightly higher price is their way of “begging.” Some people are sleeping on the streets, but there aren’t that many. There is poverty here, but for what ever reason people don’t want a hand out, they want to earn it. The more touristy the area that you go to the more people are looking for a handout.
On that note, people are really nice and helpful here. We have had a local help us cross the street then watch them turn around and walk back to right where we were. I have seen this done with other people too.
The ladies carrying the yolks of everything from fruit to hot coals making fresh waffles are beasts. Those things are heavy. Respect. Given that, they will also feign how heavy they are to try to get you to buy something.
Younger people are better educated when it comes to speaking English and this seems to open up different and better business and job opportunities for them. One of our hosts is a professional pianist and Airbnb host. I doubt she could be the former without the latter. She taught herself English by watching American TV, not kidding!
Amount of garbage on the streets seems to very depending on where you are and in what city. In Hoi An as soon as it stopped raining even a little there were troops of people that came out and swept the entire old town area. In Ho Chi Minh City it seems to very my district and location. Parks seem to be very clean. District 1 and 3 seem to have the best sidewalks, used as sidewalks and not make-shift carts. Hand pushed garbage collections seem to be all over these areas as well.
Motor bike parking seems like a mess but is actually very orderly. Someone is paid to watch the bikes and organize them so that you can have access to your bike when you need it. Attendants give you a receipt and charge you a small fee when you pick up your bike.
Motor bikes driving on the sidewalks is one of the most annoying things. This happens mostly during rush hour and honestly at this point I don’t even get out of their way. Maybe that will encourage them to stop doing it.
Also there seem to be some really really nice cars floating around Ho Chi Minh City. So far we have seen Lamborghinis, Porsches, Bentleys, and Mercedes stuck in the same bumper to bumper gridlock traffic.
Ho Chi Minh City has quite a few really pretty parks. Some of the parks have exercise equipment which gets a surprising amount of use. This includes bikes and ellipticals that don’t require power as well as all sorts of things you turn and swing with various parts of your body. Young and middle aged people seem to really want to stay fit. We always see people walking and running around the parks in the morning and evening as well as using these outdoor gyms. Also, people do not walk on the grass. It’s just not a thing people do here. The handful of people I have seen on the grass here have all been tourists.
Due to its warm local, Ho Chi Minh City does have pests. Mice and rats are visible in the parks, mostly only at night or if you are looking really hard for them. They also do have squirrels. You can tell the rats apart from the squirrels by looking at their tails. Fluffy tail is a squirrel and skinny tail is a rat. Cockroaches are also a thing here. Unfortunately it’s a constant battle to keep those things out of the house. So in general it’s a good idea to keep your bags zipped and off the floor.