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.
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.
Copyright © Dan Fellner 2013