As I left Miami after graduation, I immediately embarked on another milestone – my first trip to Vietnam. In my new job, our team has an office in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Part of my team is in this office, so I’ve been eager to meet them all. I’ve spoken to the team on the phone and over e-mail, but was ready to see them face to face.
The journey to Vietnam was awfully long, since I was coming from Miami (rather than from Seattle). I flew from Miami to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City – a little over 26 hours of travel. I was surprised to realize a quirk in my scheduling: the three flights had departure dates of May 11, May 12, and May 13! The trip felt like I was in transit for three days, even though I wasn’t.
I arrived in HCMC on Monday morning and, after checking into my hotel and showering, went straight to the office. I immediately felt the energy, warmth and excitement of the entire team and that continued throughout the week. Each day was filled with lots of meetings, while the nights were busy having dinner and celebrating with various co-workers (which provided a great opportunity to get to know them a little better, outside of the office).
The team is preparing to move to a new office, on the 14th floor of the REE Tower near the current office. The highlight of the week, for the entire team, was on Friday – a mini-party in the new space. For most of the team, this was the first opportunity to see the new office (although the build-out was not yet complete).
I was fortunate, throughout the week, than my boss, John, was with me on the trip. John has spent lots of time in Vietnam, so I never felt like an inexperienced foreign tourist. Whether it involved deciding where to eat, avoiding getting cheated by unscrupulous taxi drivers, choosing where to get a massage, or knowing how to get around, John had it all under control. [Yes, we went for a massage, not once, but twice. For those of us coming from the U.S., it’s remarkably inexpensive – each massage cost the equivalent of US$10.] I had one day (Saturday) to set off on my own, for some sightseeing (which I’ll discuss in a future post).
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
My first trip to Vietnam was a big success. I look forward to returning soon (and sharing the experience with my wife on some of my future trips).