Eric, well — I am in the SeniorNomad Club as well. — truthfully though, age really doesn’t cross my mind here much. The group here has all ranges.
I still workout everyday, take care of myself and am doing pretty much the same shit, say, like skateboarding, which I did when I was eight years old.
Anyhow, I have a bit of perspective on location, and how these things ebb and flow. I started my journey in 94/ 95 with a year of living in Taipei, Taiwan. I also lived in China back in 2003, have lived in India for a year, all over South America — Buenos Aires, Santiago, etc. — in all have racked up, I think about 30 countries.
Additionally, I have seen the explosion of mobility now. What an exciting time we live in.
I really need to update that Bootstrapping in Saigon post.
I’ll probably update and put a more comprehensive overview and blueprint for Bootstrapping in Saigon on my own site, which I will relaunch soon.
Quite a lot has changed since then.
The biggest change — — —
Construction has begun on a massive metro system.
Having lived in Taipei while their metro system was under-construction, and contrasting that with the present, I believe most will underestimate how the Saigon Metro System will impact the city.
Taipei 20 years ago was a lot like Saigon now.
Motorbike culture was the central force of that city at that time, it was pretty cowboy like Saigon can be in places, and it had a very invigorated and confident youth culture, which I see in Saigon at this time.
Oddly, Vietnam’s present GDP is that of Taiwan’s 20 years ago. Yet, they have a lot more people.
Vietnam at the moment has the fastest growing middle class in Southeast Asia. You can see the signs of it and optimism is in the air.
There are other factors to consider, which may pan out in Vietnam’s favor.
The controversial and previously top secret, TPP Agreement, which has been gaining momentum will likely be a huge benefit to Vietnam.
There are big downsides to this agreement, especially when it comes to decision making authority and environmental issues, but I’ve tried to view it from other angles.
Mainly, I see this as an effort to neutralize China’s influence. Probably why it was so secretive.
Being an entirely coastal country, having a very young population where 70% of the country is under the age of 30, continuing a shift from an agrarian based society to industrialization and with some meager banking reforms that have to come about due to Vietnam’s WTO compliance — — — I see the synthesis of all of these factors working in the country’s favor.
So much so, I have more or less based myself indefinitely.
Ohh, and there is another factor — — — — — I married a local.
That’s an interesting segue into your other question.
At the risk of being judged, being misquoted, misinterpreted, accused, and so on, I’ll give you my personal point of view.
I know these kind of questions and discussions are the elephant in the room in this community, and can be explosive.
I avoided the trifecta of entrapment all of my adult life — marriage, mortgage and children.
I have never been previously married, I have no children — and have previously been open to the idea of marriage, but not children.
Then I came here…
Ok, on dating here, the culture and the interplay amongst men and women.
I really, really love the dynamic amongst the sexes here.
It’s hard to describe.
A bit of a back story.
I grew up being raised by a single mom, grew up around a lot of women because my mom was a ballet dancer, though I did have a grandfather who was blue-collar, a boxer and thus, I had a fairly rounded yin and yang model.
Growing up, I distinctly remember the interplay of the sexes.
It was calm, cool, confident and fun.
From my little view of the world at that time, the women I saw and observed were strong, working and could dish it out and take it.
Growing up there was a playfulness amongst the sexes, which was not overly concerned with offending, with being too politically correct or existing in a state of outrage over semantics.
And with that backstory, I will tell you my personal experience here.
There is a fun, unassuming playfulness between the sexes.
In terms of dating, it will depend, but in general, there is a very open attitude towards dating.
In terms of that rushing to marriage expectation and all that stuff.
I think that’s mostly guy’s egos talking too much, if you want my honest opinion.
Speaking in general terms, the girls here are very strong, they have strong opinions, when I was dating here, I did not meet one girl who was “looking to get out” and say, move to America.
Like any other city, you will have gold diggers, but I found the gold digger factor to be low, and if that’s the case, it’s easy to spot and it’s up to the guy not to be a total idiot and fool and turn into a human ATM machine.
The judgers will think the dating game here is just a money game. It’s not — it’s nuanced. It depends on the persons and how they carry themselves.
The levels of social intelligence and perception again, in general, are very high.
Femininity is well expressed, and quite celebrated and appreciated by most.
And, that is where the dynamic of the sexes is at play.
It’s fun and comfortable most of the time, and if it gets out of line, you’ll know it.
An honest flirtiness that is usually not too out of line.
In terms of marriage.
Well, I never really saw myself getting married, ever — really.
My wife and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary, and the 1 year report so far.
Amazing, far better than I could have imagined. I’m really happy.
Her family (who fought for the North) has welcomed me with open arms. We see them often and host them at our house for dinner often.
Obviously, I can’t speak for her, but she seems very, very happy as well. No moodiness. Not outbursts of anger. Even keeled.
She is motivated and does her own thing. She has her own business and I have my business.
We both work from home. She has her friends, I have mine and we both have our own lives.
She will call me out on any BS — yet, is very patient and understanding.
We live nearly conflict free. A concept very alien to me.
If there is an incommunicado, patience is exercised and we slow down and talk through it.
At times, I go out with my friends at night, will party (she doesn’t like to drink) and catch zero grief or jealousy when I return home. None. Nothing.
That makes me respect her more, lover her more and makes me value the relationship more. My eyes have little motivation to wander.
I had an ex-girlfriend of two years coming to Vietnam from the states who I’m still good friends with, and my wife and I were talking about where my ex would stay.
She looked at me and said — she will stay with us. Why would I care? I married you.
That’s it. No conflict.
That response was a shocker.
I lucked out. I have a good foundation and I see this going somewhere.
Yes, this is a great place to date.
One thing — don’t be a bullshit artist about how long you’re here or set false expectations.
That’s the one thing I see guys doing here a lot.
They’re too afraid to state the truth.
Some will use lies and deception to run up their numbers.
Don’t be one of those tools.
Just be honest.
Be crystal clear about your expectations and let the rhythm of dating run its course.
Just have fun. That’s what most locals are interested in. Fun.
Truthfully, from what I have heard, the dating side for most western women here will be more challenging.
I have quite a few female friends here and the challenges are often a subject of discussion.
Again, generalization — but, I’m told by my female friends that the guys here are not masculine enough to their tastes. In general, men here are shorter and western women are taller — and for whatever reason, my female friends want a taller guy.
There is a very large western expat community here, and not all of those guys are interested in dating locals. Thus, I have seen a few budding relationships between expats.
I know of one relationship between a local Vietnamese guy and a western woman, perhaps two — come to think of it. It’s not as normal I guess.
Though, ladies, I’d say this is open territory. I have quite a few local guy friends who are smart, handsome, successful guys who would be a catch. Never rule anything out.
Hope that helps clarify some things.
Feel free to ask me anymore questions.
I enjoy writing about this stuff because it helps me frame my thoughts.
Hope to see you all in the Hoch.