We have definitely been submerged in the Vietnamese life and are loving it! The 5 of us (we picked up a doctor named Gray) have done quite the traveling. We started in Hanoi where we picked up a few take alongs from the beginning:
- Money, Money, Dollars, and Dong- the exchange rate in Vietnam is 20,000 Dong to 1 U.S. Dollar. Sounds like a lot, but everything here is CHEAP! Food, spa services (which Leilani, Virginia, and I took full advantage of spending 4 hours, yes 4, in a spa down the road from our hotel where we all received a full body massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure for around 70 U.S. dollars), bottles of water which are around 50cents, and much more. Everything can be bartered as well. I’ve taken advice from my mom in not backing down when I want something and its seems to have worked in saving me quite a few dollars.
- Anything you want, you can get- We have been in Hoi An the last few days and racked up quite the wardrobe including custom-made suits, shoes, swimsuits, tops, bottoms, you name it. They show you pictures (or you show them which I have opted to do quite a bit), measure you, and then have it ready for you the next day. One suit for the ladies costs around $75 with multiple fittings.
- There are definitely some main Vietnamese dishes that the 5 of us have embraced- Pho, which is a noodle soup with sprouts, usually pork, scallions, cilantro…maybe mint or basil, and red chilis. There is a lot of fresh seafood and fruit, and a variety of dumplings. Most of this is served during breakfast (I still stick to a traditional bacon and eggs).
- This is a business concept that I love to analyze…..there are some sales people here, I mean a LOT!! They typically have a good technique with the basics of selling down, if not perfected. Probing, clarifying, selling, and closing. They start with the basic “Where you from?’, ask what you are looking for which includes identifying problems on you such as your worn shoes, lack of hat, ingrown eyebrows, not current pedicure or manicure, etc. Then there is the ‘Come inside, look at my shop’ where they proceed to tell you every single knick knack in there. Of course, there is the direct and I mean very direct close…’you buy something’ or ‘how many do you want?’ Pretty good I must say, but being a former sales person myself, I’ve only fell for it a few times ;).
These are the basics of Vietnam. I will have more to come, including more basics, our featured guest Gray who is quite entertaining and debonair (he requested this), pictures, us ditching the fork for chopsticks, adventures in Halong Bay and Hoi An, and entertaining stories. These will be the last few days of the leisure traveling before we go full force into our project on Monday.
Also, to my other bloggers….stop kicking my butt!!!