This week we have been exploring Ho Chi Minh City and just like with every move we’ve made, its provided us with a new window on the world. A new perspective if you like.
There are the basic things that change, like the actual view from the window. I still haven’t gotten tired of watching people go by doing their daily activities – always busy. Or in the heat of the day, seeing people sound asleep, everywhere! Then there are the asian hats that everyone wears, the amount of things they can carry on a motor bike or push bike never ceases to amazing me, the things they sell on the side of the road, the places they live, how they hang from roof tops doing repairs, how you cross the road (careful BUT determined) and so many other things.
Our new window also has heaps of new delicious food and some interesting food! One of the challenges we’ve found is eating from a menu with no pictures thats in a foreign language that even Google can’t understand. We’ve had some amazing successes and a few we won’t order again. In the north of Vietnam in particular they believe if you eat dog meat it will bring you good fortune – I don’t think many westerns hold with this belief (the kids certainly found this a difficult concept)! This new window has made us a bit savvy about where to eat so we can get closer to local prices, food we want to eat and food that won’t make us sick – not things we had to think about in Australia.
Then there are the different belief systems. Until we came to Vietnam, we called the Vietnam war, just that the Vietnam war – now we have been to Vietnam and studied their recent history from their perspective we see why they call it the American war. Their view of this historical war is not the same as we are taught in Australia.
I’ve also had discussions with hawkers who disagree with me when I tell them we are not rich! They tell me that if I can travel to their country I must be rich! And I can’t argue with that – but I do tell them that this is not a holiday, we have to work while we travel so we can continue to travel. On one occasion Simon showed a hawker the Alibaba website and how he could buy a particular item in bulk for a lot less than he wanted us to buy it for. They then had a discussion about how this man could start his own business buying these items himself and make more money than having to buy them off his boss – basically Simon was showing him how to under cut his boss and start his own business.. The hawker got a little excited – who knows maybe Simon helped create another little hawker empire out there to sell stuff to us westerners!
After close to 45 years in Australia experiencing the same window on the world everyday, its amazingly refreshing to wake up every day to some thing different! Not better, just different..
Change can be very scary, maybe its the fear of the unknown, I’m not sure, but I do know that its worth it! There are a ton of wise sayings that talk about “doing some thing that scares you everyday” – I believe that this is great advice. After all its only when you get a little out of your comfort zone that you grow, so go lean into the fear and grab yourself a new window on the world today!
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