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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

The Capitalist Dream

VIETNAM | Sunday, 15 July 2007 | Views [666]

The most common question we get from locals is "where are you from."  When we say the "United States," they look a bit baffled, and then we say "America," their expressions acknowledge comprehension, and when we say "California," everyone we talk to lights up.   "Oh," they exclaim, "lots of Vietnamese in California, Little Saigon in California."  Everyone seems to know someone or has a relative or friend who left Vietnam after the war, to escape the communist regime, and pursue their dreams of freedom and capitalism.  They share stories of their loved ones moving to America, the land where they "work very hard, long days around the clock," to earn lots of US dollars to bring back to Vietnam for their families to have a better life.  They too, in speaking with them, dream of the chance to one day go to the US.  They say they'd go for just a few years, "work, work, work" day and night to earn good money and then move back to Vietnam to set up a good life for themselves and their families and provide for a good education for their children.  For many, however, they are discouraged by the overly restrictive immigration process in the US, which prevents them from even coming in as a tourist, let alone on a temporary work visa.  There seems to be a very high regard, and value placed on getting a good education here.  Education is something that they believe will lead their children to have better, more fulfilling lives and jobs.  

Vietnam is quite a contradicting country.  On one hand, strong communist government and proud of it.  On the other hand, very competitive, capitalistic economy.  These are smart, savvy, and enterprising individuals who have survived and created a life where many have really begun to thrive, running their own businesses and embracing competitive, open markets.  It's what makes Vietnam, right now, such an exciting place to visit for foreigners, or foreign business to invest.  With avid competition for the tourist dollar, we have found the value very high for the price we pay - for accommodations, transportation, activities and food.  There's even a step up in levels of customer service, and we can see this in action, especially with hotels and guest houses - ones with poor service have big vacancy rates, even in a higher tourist season.  We got caught off guard once, not booking a room in advance in Nha Trang, and had to stay in a lousy service place because the good ones were all booked out.  Yet this place had a ton of rooms that were vacant.  Capitalism and the capitalistic "fever" is alive and well in Vietnam, and we're enjoying the benefits of their open economic practices.  A very stark difference to our experiences in Laos and Myanmar.

Tags: Culture


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