In Vietnam that first contact came to me through the smell: the mix of unknown species, wet wood and a sweet hot which always welcome you when you first cross the airport doors. After that, the clamor of yelling and incomprehensible conversations reaffirm the idea that in fact you have just traveled the 11.000 Km that separates Madrid from Ho Chi Minh City. Then you start looking, and you see their faces, eyes, skin, clothes, gestures, and everything it´s different to what you're used to. Step by step, little by little, you start to recognize the sounds of this new language, which at first seemed very bizarre. To yourself you bless the fact that most of the people you speak at can understand your English, or at least that´s the impression you´ll have because while speaking to you they are always nodding.
Once you have gone over the initial shock, you start to realize the rhythm of the country, the people of a city that never sleeps, where everything is in motion, quickly, with no breaks. In the street, millions of motorbikes go on and on and they can carry everything you can imagine. They don't have any rules and they circulate in all the directions without any kind of obstruction.
My first visit to Vietnam became then a need of an immediate adaptation. I had to realize that my reality had nothing to do with this culture and it was necessary to let yourself be carried away by the the fast and the estrange flow.
Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Sergio y Montse
When we first went to Ho Chi Minh in March of 2009, it was also the first time we were travelling for job reasons into a foreign country. It was just for a month but the experience was such a shock. I used to love the warmth of the city although when we combine it with the cold of the office, cabs and the mall it the feeling was pretty unpleasant. There was no way to succeed while picking the daily clothes.
The thing that surprises you first when you arrive in Vietnam it´s the traffic. There are a lot, thousand motorcycles everywhere. When we depart from the airport for the first time in our way to the centre town, It freaked me out seeing motos circulating on an opposite direction or reversing they way on a kind of a highway.
Now, in the second time we stay in the city, I'm not that surprised, as they can´t go fast and the risk of an accident is minimum. Circulating and crossing the streets is not an utopia any more. On the contrary, I love to do it and to look directly into the drivers eyes to let them know I won't stop, even though Montse is kind of afraid still.
Vietnam is growing up and when the people change their motorbikes for cars, the cities will be becoming Rat Traps.
TO BE CONTINUED... NEXT WEEK MORE!! "FENG SHUI, LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE"
IN TREATMENT - METALOCUS.
DIRECTOR: JOSÉ JUAN BARBA. COORDINACIÓN: INÉS LALUETA. ORGANIZACIÓN: INÉS LALUETA, PEDRO NAVARRO. VERSIÓN INGLÉS: KAREN SIMPSON. INVITADOS 1ª TEMPORADA: JOSÉ JUAN BARBA, MARINA DIEZ-CASCÓN, SERGIO DIEZ-CASCÓN SOLER, LARA FERNÁNDEZ GONZÁLEZ, CARLOS GERHARD PI-SUÑER, MONTSE PLA GARCÍA-CASTANY, XAVIER NICOLAU CUYÀS, FERNANDO RIAL PONCE, VERÓNICA ROSERO.