Give a Vietnam blog idea.
November 13, 2006 4:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm going back to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Vietnam for six months or so. I want to do an interesting blog, not just "today I did this, this and this." Any topic ideas?

I thought about food, but already did that better than I could. Right now, I just have a vague idea of chronicling hilarious things that happen in the third world and ingenious solutions to everyday problems people come up with (car battery-powered big screen TVs, for example). Bonus points for clever names!
posted by borkingchikapa to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Try to talk to one person every single day, whether Vietnamese/American/other traveler, and transcribe your conversation. Talk about specific things or just whatever. Do you speak Vietnamese?
posted by ORthey at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2006

Food. Anthony Bourdain has convinced me that Vietnam is the most amazing place for food in the world. (Food as a cultural experience, that is, not just food as a delicacy.)
posted by arco at 5:03 PM on November 13, 2006

Every day, record one thing that you would absolutely never see at home.
posted by tkolar at 5:07 PM on November 13, 2006

If you don't know the language, take classes, either formal, informal or both, and that way your blog might help other people learning Vietnamese too?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:48 PM on November 13, 2006

I never/rarely read blogs. However, along the lines of what Orthey suggested (I am also not sure how high tech blogs are either) - if you know the language, I think it would be cool to interview people that lived in the area and provide their perspectives/daily lives. For example, if young children were told that other people from (insert your country - US?) may read the blog, what would they like to tell them? Or maybe just describe the life of a few kids - do they make toys? Do any need to work? what is daily life like? Could you add recordings of the voices? Or could you follow around a person during the day for all of their work activities? How many hours/what is the day like? What are the hopes and dreams of that person.

As a reader, I would want to truly learn something new about the culture/see things from another perspective.

Infact, if you do create such a blog - I'd be interested in looking at it from time to time.
posted by Wolfster at 6:19 PM on November 13, 2006

Please please please don't try to plan this in advance. There's a good chance you'll decide on something that doesn't really 'do it for you' when you get there, and you'll just end up producing a blog full of strained writing.

When you get there, see what it is you want to write about. See what the context around you is - you might discover that it is totally culturally inappropriate to interview people about different things, you might discover that recording one thing you never see at home gets a bit tedious after the first few weeks.

So get there, look around, observe what it is that interests you, then write about that.
posted by Kololo at 7:07 PM on November 13, 2006

I'm so impressed with the thoughts listed here. The only thing I might add is this: I would love to hear how people in Vietnam (or, most other countries) perceive Americans. What do they like about us? What do they think about us? Why do they (if indeed they do) hate us? What would they like to see us do differently?

Don't wish to stir the pot here. I just go to bed at night, recently, and wonder why there is so much hate in the world right now, both within and outside the country. A heightened mutual understanding of our cultures might help the world a bit.

Thanks, and enjoy the trip. Let us know the URL if you can!
posted by davidinmanhattan at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2006

davidinmanhattan I think there are plenty of places other than Vietnam that hate you. In my experience the average Vietnamese person doesn't have much of an opinion other than, like the rest of the world, thinking that the foreign policies and actions (read: Iraq) of USA suck shite like a banshee. Americans visiting Vietnam devote a lot more energy worrying about how they will be perceived than the Vietnamese ever do thinking about you all. I get the feeling that it's always been this way since the war. Vietnam doesn't have so much of the ..umm...emotional baggage and ego.

As for the blog...I agree with tkolar and Kololo. Sit somewhere every day for a while and just observe. Maybe go to the same place (cafe etc) every day at the same time. I would caution against rushing to snap judgments about what you see or why things are the way they are or how they should/could be improved. If I was you, I would just record the facts - which will be odd enough to a presumably western readership - and how you perhaps respond to what you observe. If you can write halfway decently, then as you already know, the outstandingly unusual and quirky will be entertaining and unusual for people who haven't been there to read.

I find it interesting after your last question (or the last one of yours that I saw about Vietnam) that you're choosing to go back. Maybe you'll observe and write enough to answer the question you posed back then. Good luck.
posted by peacay at 6:07 AM on November 14, 2006

I agree with the thoughts above to an extent. If you have a general theme as to the content you want in your blog, that'll help you filter whatever experiences you have. This will make it easier to decide what to blog about.

As for the content, think about what you always want to know about people's trips. Chances are, that there are many others who will share your interests.

This blog should be a record you can look back on in 20-25 years, which will help you recall all the positive experiences you had on this trip. To that end, make it interesting for yourself, and not others.
posted by reenum at 10:49 AM on November 14, 2006

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