31st Dec 2011 and it was during winter season in Ha Noi. There is no other perfect way to hang out with your best high school mates and we (3 of us) haven’t seen each other for 5 years. One studies in Australia, one in America, and another one plans to settle her life in this capital city. And we ate all the local food & snack here, and we went clubbing till early morning, and we went crazy. Everything is like yesterday…
We stayed right in the middle of The old quarters Ha Noi, with walking distance to ‘Bia hoi corner’ – the intersection between Ta Hien St & Luong Ngoc Quyen St. This is the perfect spot to enjoy what the vibrant and happening atmosphere, with vehicle noise, street vendors, etc.
After trying almost every single local food sold at street corners, we decided to go to ‘bia hoi’ corner to relax and have some beer. If you don’t know what ‘bia hoi’ is, click on the link above. If you already know, you might agree with me that ‘bia hoi’ is too light, not for ‘real’ ‘serious’ drinking purpose 🙂
And we had a chance to hear the story of an American guy. We met right at the Bia hoi corner, when we was looking for some available chairs, and he sat right next to us.
His name is Mark Jolly, based in Hawaii. He came to Vietnam mainly to visit his Taiwanese girlfriend but they never met before (?!), and he planned for the trip just 1 or 2 week ago (?!) He didn’t have any expectations when coming to Vietnam, and what he has known was just about the Vietnam wars, and the very underdeveloped country (?!). He didn’t expect that the city was so lively and happening. He told us about the story of his life, never settling down and been living in San Francisco and Los Angeles before Hawaii. He told us about his career-wise and how he got involved in the career of properties. He told us about unpredictable stories, and he was living the life that way… I told him about some personal traits of typical Vietnamese, very traditional and obey to the parents. I told him about bad manners of Vietnamese (e.g. rip off foreigners or corruption). I told him about my dream of developing the tourism industry, to be sustainable and not too opportunistic. I told him about our so-called fixed life-paths that every parents expect us to follow. I told him about our wish of breaking-the-rules.
It was not the first time I was exposed to the cultural difference between Caucasian and Asian. The more exposing to it, the more tolerant I have.
3 months later, I received an email from Mark. He told me about the story of meeting a Vietnamese girl in Phan Thiet, and they planned to get marriage. Mark is about 60 years of age, and currently has a stable career to earn the living. His future wife is 30 years old, and she is an English teacher. This will be the first time both of them get married. I wonder why a man, who never wants to settle down, now accept to live his life with a Vietnamese lady. They haven’t known each other for long. Mark just met her during his road trip in early January…
It’s quite ashamed that many Vietnamese girls, especially from the South, are ‘sold’ to get married to Taiwanese and Korean guys. Hence, in general people don’t have positive attitude to this kind of marriage. But if this is a true love, why bothered? Mark was correct to wonder and hence he asked me for opinion. On the side of the girl’s family, they have their own business so maybe there’s no digging-money purpose involved here.
Anyway, I feel happy for them. I’m happy for Mark because he can do whatever he wants in life. What I really admire is that at his age, his life is still never settled down =)
Not being discriminated, but why would us Asian are expected to have a stable life, stable job, married and have a typical family? Why an adventurous and not-knowing-the-end life never be appealing to the majority of Asian people?