“I live in Le Van Sy Street, D3 right now; it’s kind of between the river and a street. Le Van Sy is a very busy street, there are lots of shops and restaurants but on the side of the river, it’s quiet where you can enjoy the coffee for morning.”
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Darrell and I’m from Cape Town in South Africa. This city is a tourist destination, there are a lot of people from all over the world come and enjoy the beaches, the mountains; And there are also people within South Africa travel to here.
Why did you come to Vietnam?
So originy I was teaching in China and the company that I worked for has a school in Vietnam then I came here to teach. But right now, I’m no longer teaching; I’m enjoying my holiday by travelling in Vietnam.
When you move to Vietnam to teach, where did you stay? In another part of Vietnam or in Ho Chi Minh City?
I just stay in Ho Chi Minh city for the first time move-in in Vietnam until now.
Have you ever travelled to other parts of Vietnam?
Yes sure. When I have a chance, I explore Vietnam a lots.
I have been to Halong Bay which I think it’s very unique like the geography is unique. I enjoyed the Bay and delicious seafood there.
I have been to Dalat as well. So i think you will a lot of people like to go there for the fresh air, and relax. It’s like Ho Chi Minh city is very fun and colorful and busy but Dalat is a good place to go when you want some fresh air and enjoy the farm, the mountain and the food.
I went to Hue as well. Hue has delicious and spicy food which is Bun Bo Hue – I very like it – and there is a very beautiful mountain/hill to drive from Hue to Danang – Hai Van Hill. When you travel to Danang, you should go to Hoi An; it’s very beautiful. Hoi An is a tourist town but it’s very beautiful. There are a lot of tailors which is a good place for having a dress made or suit made.
I also went to other places which is close to Ho Chi Minh for weekend like Vung Tau, Cat Tien, it’s very convenient if you want to get out of Saigon just for 1-2 days.
Is it difficult to find a job in Vietnam?
No, I think if you are a teacher then it very easy to find a work in Vietnam. So if you have been in a university, you can have a police check, health check and it’s easy to find a job.
Ah and I think if you are positive and you can present yourself well then you will do well with Vietnamese school. I think it’s a strong value on languages education at the moment.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
The PEOPLE. I think Vietnamese people are very accommodating, they quite open to foreigners and the society is very safe like you can enjoy the night-time without worrying the crime.
Moreover, I like the building here, it’s colorful. Because we are a tropical country then most of the area are very green. I love driving on my motorbike pass those colorful building and green trees then I can stop by for some Bun Bo or Bun Cha, people there are very friendly to me.
And I think the thing I like a lot here would be the Coffee. Everyday, I drink around 2 or 3 Ca phe da khong duong (Coffee without Sugar haha). The coffee is really good and strong, as I know lots of people here are imported coffee from Dak Lak.
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
I have been here for 5 years already. I have been teaching here for few years and now I’m enjoying Vietnam.
Oh, I really enjoy Vietnam so as I said at the moment I’m in my holiday then actually I do not know how to answer the question when will I come back to my country (smile)
Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?
It’s very easy. There are a lot of options and all kind of accommodations that you choose. You can very easily find a high-end apartment with the gym or swimming pool and close to D1 or you can rent a room from a Vietnamese family or you can make friend with Vietnamese and they can suggest you somewhere to live and guide you what to do.
Have you ever rented a room from a Vietnamese family?
Yes. The landlord does not speak English but the wife of the family was the receptionist at my workplace and they has a spare room, I rented it. It was a great experience because it was my holiday in Vietnam a the community around is very easy to join. And can know Vietnamese life for example if there is some kind of holidays then I can see the food and culture.
Where do you live right now in Saigon? What do you think about your neighborhood?
The neighborhood is so nice, I really like it. I live in Le Van Sy Street, D3 right now; it’s kind of between the river and a street. Le Van Sy is a very busy street, there are lots of shops and restaurants but on the side of the river, it’s quiet where you can enjoy the coffee for morning.
Moreover, there are lots of alleys way all around the house, many people living there. I can feel that families living there for a long time then they know each other so I often saw the neighbor talk to each other. And I have been there around a week I think or more than a week then some of people in that area already started talking to me.
Can you tell us a little story about what has happened to you during your trip?
Well, I have been to many Vietnamese weddings and it’s completely different from Western style. So the first time I was invited to a wedding, the invitation wrote 6 p.m and I went there at 6 p.m and I said by myself because there were no one else in the room until one and a half hour later. If you are invited to a Vietnamese wedding, you can come to the party at least 1 hour late (smile).
How was the weekend? The weekend with a bad hurricane in Vietnam?
Ah..It was really good except we have a very big storm. I think it’s a hurricane or something that hit Vung Tau and we were affected by raining all day long in Ho Chi Minh city. I was very hungry yesterday and would like to go out to eat but I was stuck because all the street around the house was flooded. But actually it was nice because after the rain, the weather is getting cooler, it’s such a nice change haha.
Can you describe Vietnam in one word?
It would be COLORFUL. Everything here the people, the buildings, the foods are colorful.
What is the biggest culture shock for you?
Let me think. Uhm…Nothing comes into my mind….Maybe I have been here for long time and before going to Vietnam, I lived in China then in China I got a big culture shock about their language.
What will be your next destination?
Ahm..I hope I will live in Vietnam for a long time haha.
Have you ever thought about move to another part of Vietnam to live?
Yes sure. I would like to live in one of the smaller town to experience new things like Can Tho. Maybe another place like Hoi An.