Guest post by Mien H. Pham
“What do you know about Vietnam?”
I don’t remember how many times asking people I met when traveling outside of my country this very simple question: “What do you know about Vietnam?” And normally the “classic” answer I ever received was all summed up in one plain word “war!” Even now a lot of people still assume Vietnam is no more than a battlefield undergoing an endless war just like written in the history text book.
Undoubtedly, Vietnam turned out to be the most famous country in the world during the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. Many high school students I met in Poland even mentioned about “Ho Chi Minh” and “Viet Cong” in our conversation with big interest. And in fact, I myself must admit that the “specialty” about Vietnam is the endless fighting history which lasted for more than a thousand years from the Chinese empire to the French colony and then the American invasion. But is this the stereotype all people know about my country? If so then I am here to tell them that Vietnam of the 21st century has become one of the most peaceful destinations in the world that they can ever find!
The country has changed a lot in the past thirty years. From the complete ruin after the American war in the 1970s, our people have built up a peaceful nation with many achievements. Vietnam can now boast its rapid economic growth ranked number 2 worldwide, just after China. We also succeeded in hosting many important international, political and cultural events. And besides that, who could say they would not be tempted by the tropical beautiful beaches, the magnificent mountainous area or the peaceful green-ever countryside?
And what else can I say to my international friends? As a desperate coffee addict, I’m proud to tell everyone that Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world. This is always an amazing fact to many people, especially when they only know about Latin American coffee from Brazil or Colombia. We are also the world number one producer and exporter of black pepper and the second biggest rice exporter confronting Thailand for the first position.
And above all, we are cheerful and friendly people. The national character is to smile as much as possible, probably and partially because of the tropical climate. However, whatever reason it can be, that is always one thing I am very much proud of when telling friends about my homeland “Vietnam is a country that never stops smiling!”
About the author: Mien is a super fun lady from the northern part of Vietnam. She pens her thoughts on her own blog site at A Hanoi’s Girl.
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