With a population in excess of 90 million people, the dragon-shaped nation of Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the world of tourism. Opening its doors to those of foreign descent less than 20 years prior, it is remarkable to see how this ancient nation is still defining itself as it becomes one of the most popular destinations in the world. Comprising breathtaking landscapes, stunning history and some of the most unique culture in the world, Vietnam is the perfect candidate for a TBD-part series I would like to call: A Slightly-Biased, Somewhat Stereotypical Overview of Vietnam.
With Part 1 focusing on each and every of the 90 million persons encompassing its lands, it is no easy feat to encapsulate the characteristics shared by all, as the cultures are so varied just within regions, cities, and even the neighborhoods themselves. With that being said, I am not one to shy away from a partially-sarcastic "stereotyping" of a populous faction of sorts, and thus, as to simplify the process, have decided to divide the population into 3 distinct groups:
Group 1 = Tourist-Based (The Good) - Comprising employees of hotels and guesthouses, tour guides and all others whose daily lives are directly involved with those from foreign lands, you will find this well-spoken faction (ignoring grammar and pronunciation of 1/8th of letters) to be one of the friendliest and giving factions of all Vietnamese people. No question, no favor, no request is too much for these individuals, willing to go above and beyond their "everyday duties" to ensure a higher standard is met.
Whether in a $10/night dorm bed, or $400/night resort, the same expectation of service is instilled in all, creating a truly authentic experience for those who choose to visit. Need a new towel, you will find an apologetic maid embarrassed she did not read your mind for one in the first place. Looking for somewhere to eat, you will be walked down the road and have a table hand-picked for you (potentially even hand-fed if that is something you would prefer). Something you did not like? You will see a stunned reaction as if you had just announced the death of their first-born child. And in the end, your satisfaction will always be requested with the simple, impossible-to-say-no-to question of "was everything (insert extreme adjective here)?" (e.g. incredible, amazing, fantastic, amazingly fantastically incredible). Yes, yes it was.
Group 2 = Tourist-Based (The Bad) - Commonly referred to as "touts" or "hawkers," these individuals, while making a living off tourism, typically have absolutely nothing to do with it after the sale is complete. While appearing from nowhere, yet seemingly being everywhere, this assemblage of "traders" utilize a variety of tactics as to ensure they cause as much annoyance as possible:
Overall, despite comprising the lowest percentage of all the groups in terms of population, this faction appears to be the most numerous just based on the day-to-day interaction one is forced into due to their "overly-present" existence.
Group 3 = Everyone Else - The final group of individuals encountered within Vietnam were those with no interaction whatsoever to tourists, aside from the street-side passage on a periodic basis. This, the largest group of all, have one goal and one goal only -- Go. No matter what the intended destination, no matter what obstacles lay in their path, they will proceed as intended, with no regard to anything nor anyone along their route. A car, a motobike, a newborn child, a selfie-taking Chinese tourist, it is of no matter. Any semblance of eye contact or a step aside to allow one to pass is absolutely unheard of (and most likely shunned as "anti-go behavior"). Instead, this groups favorite activity is to speed past someone on their motobike, pull directly in front of them, and then stop without the slightest regard to the "dick move" they just completed (consider it a daily occurrence at the minimum). One would think this would cause an exponential rise in road rage, yet, with everyone sharing the same goal, the only thought is: Go.
In the end, regardless of faction, group, or subset within, our experience with the people of Vietnam was an amazing encounter into an incredibly diverse array of individuals. Sure the majority slurp their food with such ferocity, one can't help but wonder when swallowing and/or breathing has time to occur. And sure the notion of "common courtesy" is abandoned just as quickly as a 90-year-old lady is able to shove her way in front of the line in which you have been standing for over an hour. And yeah, snorting, hacking, coughing, spitting, belching and the hawking of phlegm-filled morning loogies are all done with great pride. Yet, the wonderful thing is, nobody is apologetic. Nobody is harboring regrets. Everyone is content with their lives, and how they live them, regardless of "outside opinion." And in the end, isn't that all that really matters? (Answer below)
Answer = No, but it ain't changing, so no point getting all upset over it