Friday, July 17, 2009


(PICTURE: Cat Ba beach in Vietnam. Notice how narrow the beach is.)

For the past few days I've been down in Wildwood, New Jersey enjoying beach and family time. One thing that struck me in LA and now in New Jersey is the difference between American and Vietnamese beaches. Here's just a couple of differences:

1. The beaches in America are much deeper than Vietnamese beaches. To go from the boardwalk to the water is probably 100 yards in both Santa Monica and Wildwood. In Vietnam the narrowest beach I ever went to was about 2 yards in Mui Ne. In Hoi An and Da Nang -- the deepest beaches I went to -- it was about 40 yards.

2. Sunbathers. Vietnamese people don't sunbathe. In fact, you're lucky to find Vietnamese people outside during the strongest hours of the sun. In America people worship the sun.

3. Bathing suits. Vietnamese people, in general, are much more conservative than Americans. 90% of women in Vietnam wouldn't be caught dead wearing a bikini in public. In fact, whenever I would teach the word bikini all the adults in my classes would always laugh.

4. Boardwalks/Piers. In America it seems that at every big beach there is a boardwalk or pier. In 'Nam there's no equivalent.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone gets to enjoy some sand and ocean this weekend!