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Vietnam: Smiles Aplenty

Smiling street vendors; Vietnam

I’ve never met a people as quick with a smile as the Vietnamese.  For a country that’s endured so much turmoil and tragedy in the past half-century, its people seem remarkably upbeat and cheerful.

I took the photo above of a Vietnamese woman selling baguettes along the road in a village in the Mekong Delta.

Vietnamese fruit vendors — quick with a smile.  

Of course, baguettes are a vestige of French colonial rule; the French colonized the region in the mid-19th century and didn’t leave until 1954.  Their departure left Vietnam divided into two states – North and South Vietnam.  Conflict between the two sides intensified, foreign powers got involved, and you know the rest …

A Vietnamese baguette, known here as bánh mì, tends to have a thinner crust than its French counterpart, and is sometimes made with rice flour.  I had bánh mì for lunch one day and don’t remember anything particularly distinctive about it.  It tasted like bread.

But I do remember well the genuine warmth – and smiles — of the Vietnamese people.

A smiling fruit vendor in Hoi An, Vietnam.  

Copyright © Dan Fellner 2013


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