It seems fitting to discuss the newly released book Vietnam 100 Unusual Travel Tips written by Barbara Adam and her husband Vu Vo, in a food context. After all food plays a huge role in their life in Ho Chi Minh City (lets call it Saigon for simplicity).
With an especially lovely lunch of freshly cooked mud-crab under my belt I settled into my comfiest lounge chair and clicked my book open. A couple of hours later it was finished in a couldn’t put it down frenzy, just before a mid-afternoon taste test of gluten free goodies prepared for my Coeliac brother’s visit.
I love being able to devour a book between lunch and afternoon tea.
First of all let me tell you about Barbara. She writes about expat life in Saigon on her blog the Dropout Diaries. I’ve followed her online (not in a creepy way) for years and welcomed the birth of not only her and Vu’s children but their latest baby, Saigon Street Eats, the original Saigon street food tour.
Of course this book roams all over Vietnam, not just the south and best bit (if you ask Barbara and Vu).
More than 100 Unusual Travel Tips?
A title that includes the words 100 tips, left me wondering what form the book would take.
No, it is not an endless list of tips. Yes, it took me a good couple of hours to digest, what with all that laughing out loud over candid explanations. There were a few light bulb moments too and ideas have been filed, you know, just in case.
I’m one of those people who wants to emulate. When I read about around the world sailing, Marty pre-empts me with “you’ll be sailing single handed”.
What can I say.
I’m fantasising about moving to Vietnam.
Two books for the price of one?
Although it comes in the guise of one book, it is more like two rolled into one. The traveller or first time visitor will find everything they need to now (100 Unusual Tips about Vietnam) and anyone wanting to stay permanently will too (A Guide to Living and Working there). The good thing is that Barbara walks the walk. From her introductory cycling trip with her Dad in 2007, to meeting Vu and carving a life together in the steamy south, she has had nine intensive years of discovery.
What can I expect to find in this book?
Subjects that other books either breeze over or omit. Things like: cultural curiosities and lots of links, crossing the road and an ear cleaning fetish, massage and Tet, etiquette and personal space, toilets and food phrases, road rules and accommodation, coffee culture and safety. Essentially everything you need to know to travel or live in Vietnam. If you’re like me and are curious about other cultures you will find this is an entertaining and surprising read.
This is a book that attempts the nearly impossible — explaining Vietnam to an outsider. (Barbara Adam)
I embarked on a new journey of discovery when I met Barbara and began showing her “my” Vietnam. (Vu Vo)
Over cup coffee filter drips onto a layer of condensed milk (Souvenir tip in book).
Who would enjoy – Vietnam 100 Unusual Travel Tips?
Budget Travellers and Tourists, Foodies, Families, Expats and anyone curious about Vietnam.
Skip to Page 135 where Barbara spills the beans on how she entertains her Hipster DJ Sister, Mum, Vegie Sister with or without kids or her French Photographer friend. Have fun and make up your own – like a local.
Buy. Read. Enjoy. Go.
P.S. I loved my complimentary copy of 100 Unusual Travel Tips about Vietnam. It’s a trip changer.
Photos by Budget Travel Talk.