Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's The Difference Between Me and You

After living here in Hanoi for about half a year, and visiting Saigon for a bit during that time, I've come to the opinion that for most expats, Saigon is the place to be.

Now this is not to rehash the blog war between the north and south of last year - I do not condone those sentiments (mainly 'cause I can't read them), but I understand.

Saigon is so much more like the States in comparison to Hanoi, that adjusting to those living conditions would be markedly easier. The traffic is better. The food is better. The Vietnamese is easier to understand. There is more stuff to buy. More folks speak English.

Because it is a bigger city, because GIs were based there, because most VKs were from there, because of the above, the city has a larger number of foreigners/ex-pats roaming about. That just makes for a softer landing when you're adjusting.

So what's the difference between Saigon and Hanoi? No, not five bank accounts, three ounces and two vehicles. Ultimately, because Saigonese created those Little Saigons all over the world - and not, obviously, Little Hanois - Saigon is much more familiar to expats. And because it is such a bustling commercial hub, the city has incorporated the world into its fabric more readily than Hanoi.


Preya said...

The Vietnamese is easier to understand?! Not for me! My goodness, the southern accent throws me off. I agree with your take though. I lived in Saigon briefly in the mid 90s. I really don't like it--the weather or anything really. But my sister lived there for ages and she just moved back; she thinks I'm crazy for loving Hanoi. My fear is that Hanoi will become Saigon.

D. said...

You don't think the Vietnamese is easier to understand 'cause you learned to speak redneck Vietnamese in Hanoi :)

Not only is it easier to understand, imo, but my Vietnamese magically gets better also. One feels like less of a linguistic cripple down South.

Hanoi won't become Saigon. It may become what Saigon *was* 'cause Saigon is, like any vibrant city, a moving target.

Hong said...

First thing I thought of when I read the post title was X-to-the-Z.

Glad you're still keeping it real out there homie.