Goodbye phở now but not phở-ever
Never have I felt so welcome in a foreign environment. When I walk down the streets I am guaranteed to be met with countless ‘hellos’, smiling faces, street food galore and a range of unusual activities to keenly observe. Vietnamese people aren’t afraid to hug you on your first encounter, invite you in for a meal, hand you a beer at 11am, laugh at you or immediately ask personal questions (Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want a Vietnamese boyfriend? How much did you pay for that?). Vietnam is a nation who likes to wake up early, wear their pyjamas outside, hide from the sun, share food, celebrate loudly and treat friends as family.
1. Purpose is derived within communities
High-vis bonding activities on Phu Quo Island:
2. Vietnam has a diverse religious landscape
3. Don't go to a shop at lunch time as everyone may be sleeping
4. Look down, not up; beauty is in the details
5. Give it a go!
6. Life is lived to the fullest on the footpath
7. Save face
8. Education is a commodity
9. Be inquisitive
10. The north and south divide
11. LGBTQ rights are progressing
12. Women rock the hardhats
13. The middle income trap
14. Sometimes the system doesn’t work
Landfilled solid waste covers approximately 80% of Vietnam's solid waste and 85% of the country's 450 landfills are not sanitary (Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA)), releasing toxic pollutants into the air, soil and water. Whilst 84% of solid waste is collected in urban areas (VEA 2014), rural area collection rate is only 40-55% (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2011). This makes open rubbish dumping and burning common practice (despite waste burning being illegal).