The first magical moments, the first steps in Asia, the first tropical impressions. I can feel it from the beginning: this trip will resemble no other. My feelings are so strong and I have the strange impression that here I am going to find something I never looked for and that I am never going to let go of it.The minutes pass and so are my fingers over my keyboard. I enjoy all these surprising images that struck my retina and also my lungs. I feel the warm humidity deep in my throat even if it is only 6 a.m. Still, Fred tells me that this time it’s cooler than the last time. I feel the tropical scents, the smell of all these mopeds I have heard about, that pass by like some mechanical river. The locals never stop, always on their small mopeds; the traffic is always acceptable. They infiltrate everywhere, but without any aggressiveness. Practically, no vehicle runs over 50k/h.Afterwards, we had a series of meetings: companies, universities, students and our first intern! Fred will tell you more about him in another post.In other words, I haven’t felt the shock in a negative way.I was very impressed by the VNU (Vietnam National University), by the quality of its technical platform, the tidiness, the condition and the design of its buildings. All this is far different from the decay I am used to in the Eastern European Universities, where I have studied, taught and that I currently work with. What about the meeting with the students? I have been told they will be practically mute. The truth is that they have asked dozens of questions about our internships and our projects in Vietnam.See, I expected a shock but it did not happen. Perhaps it will, but later. For now, all I can say is that life in Saigon has a very special flavour. Those who know Fred, may imagine that it won’t take long for him to find the best places to experience the local lifestyle. Well, believe me, there are many possibilities. We ate Nems with foie gras, lobster ravioli, scrambled eggs with truffles, sautéed tournedos garnished with foie gras and tuna, sublime wines from Burgundy and Rhone, raspberry millefeuille, a 5-dish variation of beef. In one of the three excellent restaurants we ate at, we have paid less than for a pizza and a beer in a restaurant in Colentina, Bucharest! For a two-star restaurant, according to Michelin guide, that is to say something that does not event exist in Bucharest! But in Saigon there are plenty. In my next post, I will tell you about the local cuisine and about my new friends, the spices. Those who know me know that I would leave the table if someone plays with a pepper.What can I say about the Caravelle bar situated at the 9th floor of a building as old as the French colony, which overlooks a little bit the dome of the building occupied by Louis Vuitton. A real cocktail of France, saffron, warm rain and city lights …We are now in Hanoi, where I am going to spend many months next year. I’d like to thank Frédéric for reviewing this post.
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