Tag Archives: socialist market economy

Craig, Zach, and Ed’s Unique View of Vietnam

P1010004Bangkok I hate the Bangkok international airport.  It’s an overpriced mall with planes in the parking lot.  A cup of coffee can cost $3 to $4 bucks USD, and I’m stuck here for 8 hours on the cheap route from Hanoi to Delhi, so making the best of it.  Leaving a new country after an Organizers’ Forum trip it has become something of a tradition for me to list out the random notes about what made the country unique and special to answer the question my dad, Ed Rathke, used to ask me when I would see him after one of these trips and he would start the conversation by asking what I thought “he would most want to know” about the country.  My dad passed away a little me than two years ago, but his question never leaves me in the notes I scribble on these journeys.  Craig Robbins in Philadelphia and Zach Polett in Little Rock used to tell me that these were their favorite blogs, so to keep it light rather than tinged with the maudlin and morbid, we’ll answer my dad’s question by making it a “popular demand” blog from Craig and Zach.

  • The plane fares might be pricey, but once you are there Vietnam is way cheap.  Tell me the last time you could get a decent beer for a buck at a restaurant?  We bought beer at the Circle K next to the hotel in Ho Chi Minh City for about 70 cents.  I bought the popular Hanoi beer obviously in Hanoi on the street for 14 dong or about 75 cents in the tourist district.  In the hood I bet it’s 50 cents or less a beer.  It’s not the 99 cent six-pack special I remember for Jax beer over at the Times-Saver on Paris Avenue 40 years ago, but it’s damn close.  A special note for Rick Hall in Nairobi:  a Jameson’s on Ngo Huyen was about $1.25, book your ticket now. Continue reading