Image source: www.citypassguide.com
Once again I’m leaving my city Hanoi to look for a new adventure elsewhere. Poland, then India, and the next challenge now comes from my own country. Yes, the destination is called Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), a city in the South of Vietnam, also the biggest city of the country. I remember sometime ago a Saigon friend said to me that “Hanoi seems like another country to me”, I think I can now tell him the same thing “I feel like a stranger here in my own country”.
This is not the first time I’ve been to Saigon, but the last time was already 3 years ago when I was just a visitor touring around the city. So much fancy about Saigon then! Taller buildings, wider streets, friendlier people, better services, etc. But things have changed so much since, and especially when you live here it is a lot more different and more REAL than when you are only a tourist.
Hanoi with its classic beauty has always been the endless inspiration for many song writers and composers. No other place in Vietnam has ever been mentioned in such large amount of Vietnamese songs. And not only Hanoi born composers wrote about Hanoi but Southern composers also expressed their love to Hanoi with numberless lovable melodies. One song by An-Giang born writer Hoàng Hiệp had become so popular to Hanoians that many of us got the habit to call it “Hanoi’s song” for a very long period of time..
The song was chosen to be the official rhythm of Hanoi TV Channel everyday in many years and was loved by so many Hanoians. Although we don’t listen to it often nowadays any more we always feel deeply touched whenever the melody’s played and then find ourselves mumble along the rhythm “Wherever we go, Hanoi always stays in our heart..” And below comes the beautiful melody of “Nhớ về Hà Nội” (Memory about Hanoi) by singer Hồng Nhung.
I am a Vietnamese from the Northern part of Vietnam and if compared with Southern people Northerners are considered quite conservative, even today. Thus, in the frame of this blog I would not say generally “Vietnamese people” but I will talk particularly about the travel habit of Northern Vietnamese of which I am one..
We all know that before the Doi moi (1986) Northern part of Vietnam was totally “blocked” from the Western world. The only connection we had was just the communist fellows such as China, Cuba and Eastern Europe. So people from Northern Vietnam at that time just moved from Vietnam to those countries to study and work with the only passion – coming back to help build up a strong communist society in their motherland (!).
But since the Doi moi (or no, later! From my limited knowledge then I would count from 1994 when my youngest uncle went for his master in Australia) let’s see how the situation has changed! We started to go to Western Europe, Northern America and Australia! And we began to enjoy going to those countries, and actutally we “enjoyed” going to the developed countries so much that for now whenever someone say “I’m going abroad” then the expected destinations would always be somewhere in the US or Europe (Western part preferred!) Many people nowadays (even the youngsters at my age) have summed up the meaning of the word “abroad” into 1/3 of the world with such way of thinking. Well, the world is not big but it’s not that small either.