“The neighbor here is very peaceful and very traditional. There are a lot of small places to drink coffee or to eat like traditional food. Moreover, there is very good accommodation but still in the traditional place so I really like it. It’s very peaceful. The weather is warm but also the people are warm. When you know them, they are very friendly so that’s good”
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Edouard Desnous and I’m from France – a city in the South-West of France.
Why did you come to Vietnam?
Because during my study, I’ve done my last internship in Vietnam. I studied International Management and I specialized in Asia so I went to South Korea, China and did my last internship in Vietnam and really enjoy the country so I went back to France then went back to Vietnam after a major because I really like it.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
I like the food because it’s good and very healthy. And I also like the people, they are very friendly; especially, when I was living in Bien Hoa, I met a lot of people; even if they don’t have a lot of money, they will invite you into the house, they will invite you for dinner and share it.
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
So, I’ve stayed for 2 years already. And I went back to France for the Tet holiday for the last February. I guess I would come back to France again for Tet holiday for 2 or 3 weeks and then come back to Vietnam. So I want to stay here for a long time, I don’t know how long I would stay here, it depends on the job I would find soon. So maybe five years…
Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?
A place to live? No. because it’s easy to find apartment or to rent a house because there are a lot of offers online so that’s good, there are a lot of places. It’s not hard to find a place to live, it’s harder I think is to find a job but find the house is easy. When I was looking for a house to stay in Saigon, I went online on craigslist and I saw 1 offer from Antonin. Then I texted him, the day after I came to visit the house and say “Yes”. So it took me like 4 days to decide; it’s very easy.
Where do you live right now in Saigon? What do you think about your neighborhood?
I live in Binh Thanh District and the neighbor here is very peaceful and very traditional. There are a lot of small places to drink coffee or to eat like traditional food. It’s good because there are a lot of…a lot of foreigners around, so I like it. And at the same time, it’s very traditional here and it also has a big building next to called Pearl Plaza. Moreover, there is very good accommodation but still in the traditional place so I really like it. It’s very peaceful.
Can you tell us a little story about what has happened to you during your trip?
2 years here…Oh many things, Ah…a special story…something that happened…Uhm…Well…I met a lot of friends here…Vietnamese friends that invited me to come with them to Vung Tau. For a weekend in Vung Tau with some Vietnamese friends, we had some seafood there. Then I went to Da Lat. So everything in my life, I never had any problems since I’ve living here. I’ve been stopped 2 times by the police on my motorbike but the good thing is in Bien Hoa they don’t speak English; so when I took off the helmet, they looked at me and said: “Oh, đi..đi..đi…”. And the other time, I was stopped when I was going to Ho Chi Minh City, the police stopped me and they started to talk to me in English but I told that I was French and I don’t speak English so I lied them and I said: “Xin lỗi chú, tôi không biết tiếng Anh, tôi là người Pháp..”. Then after 5 minutes I think, they said: “Đi..đi đi…Go..go”. (Laugh). But after that, I’ve never had any problems in Vietnam in 2 years, everything is peaceful, no problem with my motorbike. That was great.
Can you describe Vietnam in one word?
Wow..It’s hard….Yeah…I would say…Uhm..Maybe WARM because the weather is warm but also the people are warm. When you know them, they are very friendly so that’s good.
What is the biggest culture shock?
I travelled a lots before to different countries. I travelled to America, Canada, Dubai, South Africa. And in Vietnam, I would say…ah….what would it be? Ah…well…when you have friends, they like to drink a lots like even the first time you meet them. And another thing is the meal because in France, we have specific meal for example: for the morning, we drink milk with some bread. For lunch, we have something light. And for dinner, we have something heavy. But in Vietnam, most of the time, you eat the same thing for the morning, for the lunch and the dinner such as Cơm tấm, Phở,…. Moreover, I would say the way for a driving – driving motorbike; because when I was driving in France, just go straight and stop by the red light. But in Vietnam, you have to learn like people sometimes they come from the wrong side, they drive with no line, no helmet so you have to be very careful and very patient.
What will be your next destination?
After Vietnam, I would like to visit Japan but for holidays because it’s very expensive to be there. Maybe Laos, maybe Myanmar. Lots of my friends have been there and told me that is a nice place to visit.