Since arriving in Vietnam, we have been extremely content. We are officially Vietnophiles and proud to be so!Our first trip to the country was 5 years ago and I've always been really keen to come back - Joey has been here on business a few times since.
We have been trying to figure out what it is about the place that really attracts us: The food is absolutely amazing - for a start, there's almost no wheat in sight so I can eat without thinking twice. Sometimes though it pays to think twice - the crispy fried wonton in definately NOT made from rice flour as I have proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We even did a cooking course toady to learn how they make the local food with a market visit in the morning to learn the ingredients.
It has been around 36C every day for the last week, so local freshly brewed beer and freshly squeezed lime juice is definately also a plus! The architecture is another thing: Vietnam was a French colony and they have also been ruled by the Chinese (among others) for a while so the buildings and bridges are a very interesting mixture of French Colonial and Chinese / Oriental styles. But probably the biggest reason for our loving the place, is the people. Despite being oppressed by various cultures through history, they have persevered and succeeded in keeping their own culture in tact. They are a fiercely proud and passionate people - ecstatically happy and frightfully angry.
One more thing about the people: all of them are riding their bikes with jackets, face covers like balaklavas and gloves to prevent their skins from darkening, all the time without breaking a sweat. Meanwhile we are dehydrated and melting, with a frosty beer in one hand and a non-descript, fruit-like iced lolly in the othern and a cold bottle of water to drown your head in - anything in the attempt to cool down!!!
Conclusion: it seems that Westerners are not fully adapted to South East Asian weather.