I am competing in the 12th annual VTV9 Binh Dien Cup hosted in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam with a team put together by my agency, Bring It Promotions. We are the first team to represent the United States in volleyball in Vietnam!
After about two days of travel for most of us, and at least 20+ hours on planes/in airports, we FINALLY arrived in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! Fun fact about four of us on the team: we are all from the Kansas City area! I played in high school at Bishop Miege with Jordan Tucker and Allison Mayfield is also a University of Kansas alumni (my alma mater). Allison and Carlyle Nusbaum are alumni of St. Thomas Aquinas High School (though a couple years apart) in the Kansas City area as well.
Fighting the urge to sleep after lunch at the hotel, we ventured out into the city. Immediately, we nearly got run over by the millions of scooters that zip around Ho Chi Minh. Scooters are the preferred mode of transport for locals. They toss on some layers to protect them from the sun, a face mask for fumes (I think), and head to their next location. Traffic laws and regulations seem to be at a minimum in this city of roughly 8.6 million. Scooters merge and dart around cars and trucks. It feels like stoplights are more of a suggestion than rule and cross walks are a free-for-all.
Thanks to Hailey Murray, we safely crossed our first street and headed to the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and Central Post Office. We learned that both these beautiful buildings were built back when Vietnam was a French colony. The French brought their ideas of architecture and building techniques to the country and influenced these and many other buildings. A couple of souvenir purchases later, the group headed to Ho Chi Minh City Hall (another impressive piece of colonial architecture). Down the main walking area, we went to an Ao Dai Exhibition to learn about the traditional dresses that were being custom made for us to wear in the tournament opening ceremonies.