Masala vs. Phở / マサラ対フォー-イェンドリック

Masala vs. Phở

Blog by Jendrik

So different but also so similar – That is probably the most accurate and yet meaningless comparison between India and Vietnam.

When I look back to ICEP India 2017, I think immediately about the extremes we encountered, which were outwardly visible on the streets and in everyday life.

Examples: the different aroma of fantastic food and spices clouded by the smell of exhaust fumes and garbage on the streets. The bright colors of traditional clothing, fruit markets and advertising posters, which has lost its shine from the gray smog and pollution towering over the big cities. Thousands of scooters and cars share space on the street with the sacred cows. And not to forget the extreme difference between the poor and the rich.

This is the picture I took of a divided country that continues to be dominated by the caste system.

Vietnam presents itself from its proudest side – the streets are adorned with the red flag bearing a yellow communist star. Locals pose in elegant robes in front of historic buildings and Ho Chi Minh monuments.

The daily morning state broadcast, echoing across the bucolic landscape in rural areas, reminds me of the one-party government system. I am also reminded of the devastating 20th-century history in the region.

Both these countries give insights to distinctive eclectic multi-cultures which characterize both of these nations. I have always felt very welcome from the residents of both countries and will keep both ICEP tours in good memory.