How do I get it there?  Let me count the ways…

2015 is the Year of the Sheep, the Lunar New Year Spring Festival.  The sheep, goat, ram are all animals liked the most.  They are gentle and calm.  Of the 5 elements (wood, fire, water, earth, and metal) this year celebrates the earth.  Lucky numbers are 3,4,9.  For new borns this year they will be blessed by being soft heated, tender, polite, clever, kind hearted, have a fondness for quiet living, and sensitive to art and beauty.

All around us in Vietnam people were preparing for the celebration.  Flower markets were abundant with trees and flowers and decorations.  As I love the markets, I was most enthused about the 5 million motor bikes and how everyone gets around, shops, and does not kill each other.  The motor bikes (5 mil in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) were scary.  Traffic lights if they exist at all are just suggestions.  Honking the horn is constant so the noise level intense.  But it works!  Amazingly.

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Peach Trees delivered to homes to decorate and plant.

 

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Yellow chrysanthemums are the tradition and grow to be very tall

 

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Old traditions still exist delivering delicious fruits

 

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Centerpiece for every home is festive

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Have to wear the masks to protect the lungs, the air is scary

 

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Just another day to the market to sell stuff

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How big can I go before I fall over…is that a refrigerator?

 

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2 adults, 2 kids in the morning for school drop off and work

 

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Pick up the kids after school gets crazy- guess they forgot the helmets

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Chilly in Hanoi, bundle up the family

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Chaing Mai- Thailand- tropical weather helps to travel from village to village

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Bangkok- fancy tuk tuk- love the colors- he was waiting for us

Times are a changing in SE Asia fast.  We traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.  Great guides in every city who were passionate about their culture and wanted to share their lives, history, and traditions.  Difficult to capture the intensity of our learning, the people were warm and welcoming.  One thing we realized.  Everyone had a Samsung phone!

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Samsung, is the worlds largest smartphone maker.  Vietnam plants produce 120 million handsets.  Samsung supplies 1/3 of the global market of smartphones and 80% of them are made in Vietnam.  The Korean and Vietnam government have good trade and business relationships.  They employ thousands of people, 24 hour plants, and establish new villages to support the workers.  The Vietnam workforce is young, detailed for assembling gadgets, highly motivated. The average factory worker salary in Hanoi is 1/3rd of the salary of a factory worker in Beijing.  The factories pay no taxes the first 4 years, and then half rate the following 9 years. A large plant in Ho Chi Minh City makes the TV’s and appliances.  And these huge factories sit in the middle of rice fields with farmworkers working in the fields all by hand.  The New and the Old is a mind explosion…much will change in the next few years in these countries…cannot wait to see how fast.

This is a trip that is a ‘must do’ for those interested in future business and past history and traditions.  Next is Mekong River.  Want to go with me? P1030642