Strange mentality of Vietnamese people. Part 1
The Vietnamese, of course, do not consider there traits strange, they see them as usual things, connected to their everyday life. But we might find some Vietnamese habits and traditions very unusual. We want to tell you about the most interesting of them.
Throw the garbage under the table!
In a café, do not be surprised that there is garbage under the tables. People throw scraps and napkins right on the floor or on the ground, if it’s a street café. Once the visitors finish the meal, the owner not only cleans the table, but also the territory around, sweeps away garbage and throws out it. So leftovers don’t lie under the table all day. The garbage is cleaned out after every group of guests. If there are dogs living in the café, they’re always happy to chew on the leftovers lying under the table and therefore love this tradition. The dogs, by the way, behave very decently, do not beg and do not pester people.
In cities, especially in the north of Vietnam, there is a bucket under table, you should throw the leftovers in, instead of throwing them on the floor. We can say that this is a more advanced option.
Of course, this tradition does not apply to restaurants in the tourist area or just more or less “decent” modern cafes. People mostly throw garbage on the floor or in a bucket in small pubs or cafes, that offer barbecues at night. By the way, we advise you not to neglect these cafes, they offer very cheap, and, most importantly, tasty food. It’s sometimes better than in tourist restaurants.
Children’s tables and chairs for adults
It’s another tradition that applies to street cafes. Small private cafeterias and pubs have the simplest furniture: plastic or aluminum folding tables and children’s plastic chairs. Miniature Vietnamese easily fit on such furniture. But overweight or simply tall tourists may find it difficult to sit on kids chairs.
One more interesting detail: a part of the furniture is always put aside. If you come to a café, and there are no seats, the owner gets a table and chairs and places them on the sidewalk next to it. During the evening, these outdoor cafes can occupy quite a large territory.
Free iced tea
Every establishment has iced tea, and it’s usually free. In cafes and canteens, iced tea is served with the main dishes of Vietnamese cuisine: pho soup or chicken rice. You can also get it in coffee shops, where you get a free glass of iced tea with your coffee. By the way, in some parts of the country, for example, in the mountain city of Dalat, where the air temperature can be quite low, you can get hot tea, instead of cold one.
The Vietnamese swim in their clothes
The Vietnamese think that white skin is a beauty standard, so they hide from the sun carefully. In Vietnamese stores you can find special closed bathing suits: overalls with long sleeves and shorts. But many people simply bathe in their clothes. In the evening, young people frolic in the sea with their shorts and t-shirts on. Of course, there are fashionistas in Vietnam. Many girls aspire to look like a European and buy bikinis. But in general, the Vietnamese still prefer closed clothing for swimming. The Vietnamese usually bathe early in the morning at dawn or before the sunset. It is unlikely that you will meet any Vietnamese at sea in the middle of the day.
By the way, many Vietnamese, despite the fact that they live by the sea, do not know how to swim.
Gloves and jackets for 30-degree heat
The Vietnamese carefully protect themselves from sunlight not only at the beach. When they go outside, even in hottest days, they put on closed clothes, gloves, socks or closed shoes, as well as masks on the face. Think not that the country has a terrible epidemic. The masks do not protect from infection, but from the sun, and for those who dire a motorbike, from dust. Women use special skirts: a sort of cloth on ties. They wear them over regular shorts or dresses, if they don’t reach the floor, to cover their legs.
The Vietnamese hide from the sun not only because they want to keep their skin white and show, thus, that they have a prestigious job “not in the fields”. The sun in Vietnam is really very active and has a bad effect on the skin if you’re exposed to it daily. Vietnamese women, as well as ladies all over the world, want to stay beautiful for a long time and have fewer wrinkles. So sun protection here is fully justified.
All the oddities of Vietnamese life are justified by the climate or way of life, traditions and priorities, so do not be surprised, but just enjoy the new things that you can see here. Vietnam is a very interesting and original country.