1. They have worked hard on their tourist infrastructure, and it's noticeable. I was amazed that the buses and trains ran on time and arrived on time. (An aside: my train and one bus arrived an hour late, but I will count that on time based on my experiences in developing nations.)
2. The Vietnamese accent is very difficult for me to understand. I just couldnt get my head around the different sounds and that was a challenge through the whole trip.
3. It's a country that still is struggling with the scars of war. War hurts everyone. Everyone.
4. The climate is vastly different in the north and south.
5. Motorbikes, while make for somewhat treacherous roads, have saved the nation. If all those people were driving cars it would be continual gridlock.
6. The Vietnamese really, really like their noodles. (and you can only eat so much Pho before you want a cheeseburger.)
7. Remarkably, every place I went had hot water. If the Vietnamese can figure this out, it would seem that others in the developing world could too!
8. Ho Chi Minh created a nation and a national identity. Clearly, he was a great leader....and still looks good in his glass sarcophagus. The Egyptians got nothing on Uncle Ho.
9. The Vietnamese have fought fiercely to be an independent nation. From France, the US, Cambodia, China, the Soviets, The Russians, the Japanese, they have fought everyone. And won. This perseverance has created a national identity.
There is something special about this place, and as always, I wish I had a little more time to explore it.