By: Min Shi (On-Campus Executive MBA program)
Today was the first day we have been in Ho Chi Minh City after the long commute across the globe (photo 1). I really enjoyed the presentations from the amazing speakers we had today talking about topics such as Vietnam economics, and mergers and acquisitions. My team was on a scavenger hunt assignment after the informative presentations. Even though the traveling had tired us out, we had a lot of fun walking around the city and trying to figure out the local surroundings. Our team had walked for eight miles around the city.
Ho Chi Minh City reminded me of my home city in China. I had an amazing view from the hotel (photo 2). The noises, the traffics (perhaps not as many scooters or motorbikes), and the store formats were very comparable to the smaller city where I came from in China. The scooters seemed like the major transportation in town and the trademark of the city. The hot and humid weather in October really had taken us by surprise. The local people were nice and willing to help if we were stuck.
During the scavenger hunt activity, our team had discovered a sandwich shop. The language barrier was challenging, but we still managed to order what we wanted. The sandwiches tasted very good. The coconut guy gave the strand to Aaron (shown in photo 3). Aaron fit it right in to be the local small business person with the coconut stand he had. We had paid 150,000 dungs for a coconut that was sold on street. After that, we had realized that we had totally overpaid for the coconut. On top of that, we gave the guy 500,000 dungs, he almost did not return most of the money back to us. We figured he was taking advantage of us not being familiar with the currency, but we were getting a lot better in the street negotiation after that.
The dinner at Bitexco building was the most amazing experience we had today. The view and food was great, beside that the restaurant foods were pretty much Americanized. I had seen the lightning strikes (due to the monsoon season) over the sky during the dinner, no thunder was heard. We thought the lightning strikes were flashes from the camera, but we finally confirmed that was the lightning, which had added the bonus feature to the amazing view we had.