Monday, March 31, 2008

INSEAD Memory: Vietnam


We went to Vietnam in March 2007.  I remember this because I celebrated my 28th birthday on the final day of the trip.  Strange to think that its been a year.  Damn.  The INSEAD crew for Vietnam was big because it was the break between P1 and P2.  I'm not sure exactly how many we had but we had over 30.  Either that or 15 really fat people. (I'm looking at you, you fat Spaniard you)



We arrive in Hanoi and like all good travelers we exchanged our cash for the local currency which was - I am not making this up - the Dong.  Apart from the name the Dong really is funny money.  At current exchange rates 16,000 Dong equals 1 dollar.  For $62 you too can be a millionaire.



We chartered a junk boat to do a 2 night cruise around the renown Halong bay.  It is a channel of green topped islands of exquisite beauty.  Floating about the bay feels like how you'd imagine going through the Bermuda triangle.  You wade through dense fog on top of translucent turquoise water and out of nowhere jagged volcanic rocks come into sight.  This is where Loch Ness or fire-breathing dragons call home.  Certainly not any place you'd recognize on earth.



Nightfall.   Although INSEAD students weren't the only guests on the boat, with 30 people we had the most solid contingent on the deck.  Using our 51% stake the Business school students took control of the boat and the boat became a booze cruise.  We played cards, drank, and became kids watching the night sky snuggling under warm blankets.  No cell phones, no computers, no distractions.  Just the company of friends from all over the world.



We traveled to Hanoi.  The Vietnamese landscape outside Hanoi city is sparse, wet and green.  Tall narrow houses built in french colonial fashion rise systematically like palm trees on a California Boulevard.  Mopeds are ubiquitous on the highways.  We see one industrious Vietnamese man with 4 live pigs rope tied to the back of his 50cc bike.



Hanoi is an amazing city.  I've been to developing nations before.  There's no politically correct way for me to write this.  People in developing nations are poor and they live in filth.  Vietnam is the same, however what astonished me was how optimistic everyone was.   I've been to a lot of 3rd world countries before, and although people are nice you get the sense that people are resigned to live their lives in this manner forever.  11pm in Hanoi anywhere you go you hear cars and mopeds honking their horns.  Shops are open and trading.  The city is alive with the sounds of night market merchants calling in customers and young Vietnamese drinking beer eating BBQ prawns on the street.  This is not just the case in the affluent center of town but in the outskirts as well where they don't even have electricity.  They do business in the dim of candle-light.
 
It is as if the Vietnamese are saying "we are poor today, but this is just a temporary setback".  When I was growing up, my father would tell me stories about post-war Tokyo and the sentiment of the time which led to the Japanese economic miracle.  Hanoi is how I envisioned my father's stories.  I wonder what Vietnam will look like in the future? I wonder if I will recognize it. 

5 comments:

oakleyses said...

cheap ugg boots outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, ugg australia, oakley vault, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, jordan shoes, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online sale, louis vuitton handbags, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet online, michael kors handbags, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, tory burch outlet online, kate spade outlet online, burberry outlet online, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany and co, christian louboutin, red bottom shoes, nike outlet, longchamp outlet, ugg outlet, longchamp handbags, replica watches, christian louboutin shoes, prada handbags, christian louboutin outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, replica watches, prada outlet, ugg boots clearance, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet store, cheap ugg boots, louis vuitton

oakleyses said...

nike air max, hollister uk, nike roshe, abercrombie and fitch, michael kors, true religion, coach outlet store online, lacoste pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, air max, kate spade outlet, ralph lauren uk, nike air max, north face, vans pas cher, longchamp, michael kors canada, true religion outlet, michael kors uk, new balance pas cher, coach purses, sac vanessa bruno, coach outlet, mulberry uk, longchamp pas cher, nike roshe run, ray ban uk, converse pas cher, ray ban pas cher, hermes pas cher, guess pas cher, north face pas cher, tn pas cher, nike free pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, replica handbags, nike free, scarpe hogan, air max pas cher, burberry pas cher, michael kors outlet online, hollister, nike air force, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, louboutin, true religion outlet, air jordan, lululemon outlet online, timberland pas cher

oakleyses said...

bottega veneta, north face jackets, lululemon outlet, instyler ionic styler, iphone 6 plus cases, nike roshe, celine handbags, valentino shoes, mac cosmetics, birkin bag, timberland boots, mcm handbags, baseball bats, wedding dresses, oakley, asics shoes, iphone 6s cases, soccer jerseys, nike trainers, chi flat iron, ralph lauren, iphone 6s plus cases, abercrombie and fitch, hollister, s6 cases, longchamp, beats headphones, hollister clothing store, ferragamo shoes, herve leger, babyliss, giuseppe zanotti, ipad cases, insanity workout, louboutin, p90x workout, nike air max, iphone 5s cases, mont blanc pens, new balance outlet, jimmy choo shoes, ghd, nfl jerseys, iphone 6 cases, iphone cases, reebok shoes, nike air huarache, soccer shoes, vans outlet, north face jackets

oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, moncler, barbour jackets, juicy couture outlet, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton canada, wedding dress, moncler, uggs canada, swarovski jewelry, pandora jewelry, converse shoes, pandora jewelry, hollister canada, links of london uk, barbour, toms outlet, coach outlet, pandora uk, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, thomas sabo uk, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose, vans, ugg boots, moncler outlet, sac louis vuitton, karen millen, juicy couture, sac lancel, louis vuitton pas cher, canada goose pas cher, pandora charms, moncler, air max, gucci, ugg, ugg soldes, ugg, moncler, louis vuitton uk, converse, montre femme, canada goose, marc jacobs handbags, ray ban, swarovski uk, canada goose, louis vuitton, doke gabbana outlet

Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160615
cheap jerseys
replica rolex watches
michael kors canada outlet
nike roshe run
celine bags
retro jordans 13
rolex watches
cheap air jordans
ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses outlet
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
timberland outlet
michael kors outlet online
nike free uk
true religion jeans
coach outlet store online
ralph lauren home
burberry outlet online
air jordan shoes
oakley outlet
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton bags
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet
hollister clothing
michael kors outlet clearance
juicy couture
louboutin shoes
louis vuitton purses
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet online
michael kors handbags
tory burch shoes
toms shoes outlet online
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin shoes
coach outlet