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Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm a Celebrity in Bien Hoa

There are plenty of foreigners in Saigon, so people generally don't bat an eye when they see me there. But here in Bien Hoa, I'm a celebrity.

When people pass me on the road, they invariably stare at me. When I smile back at them, they shyly look away. Many people yell "HELLO!" at me when I pass them on the street, & then giggle with their friends for their courage. When I walk into a coffee shop or restaurant, the patrons stop their conversations to point & comment: Look at the foreigner! Some even take photos of me, the anomaly.

The braver Vietnamese people approach me to ask: "What's your name?" When I answer them, they scurry back to their friends to a cacophony of merriment. Those that go so far as to strike up a conversation have often already taken a healthy dose of liquid courage.

It's nice to get so much attention. I feel like a rock star in LA. But it's very superficial & the encounters usually don't go beyond "Hello". I'm thankful for those rare opportunities to actually become friends with a Vietnamese person.

1 comment:

Steve Skinner said...

I had similar experience while in Japan in the early 1970s. In Tokyo no one noticed us but in the outlying areas, people were always stopping to “take a look” at the visitors. As a young kid, it was surreal and sort of fun!