Same, same…but different

That’s a saying that I heard repeatedly in Vietnam. It’s mostly a good thing, I think. Sometimes it means you’re not getting what you wanted (the wrong hotel room, maybe), but more often I took it to mean, “it’s all good.” People assumed that I was Vietnamese, and would either speak to me in Vietnamese, or ask me where I was from. USA was not the answer they were looking for, so I just started saying I was Chinese. The response? “Same same!”

We wrapped up our Vietnam adventure by returning to Ho Chi Minh City for some last minute shopping and relaxation.

We were within walking distance of the Hotel de Ville, which houses the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. No visitors allowed, but the outside is beautiful. A remnant of French colonial times.


The Municipal Theater is in the same neighborhood.


One of DH’s quirky pastimes while traveling is looking for a BIG cup of coffee. He was thwarted in Paris (2003, pre-Starbucks); the closest he got was a bigger cup but the same amount of coffee. In HCMC, we found a Starbuck’s lookalike, Trung Nguyen Coffee. Definitely not a Starbucks experience, though. We were seated, menus distributed, cool green tea served. And then we ordered. DH ordered a drip coffee, and it was definitely a drip! Same same, but different. BTW, that’s an avocado shake/smoothie the College Guy is trying; it’s very popular in Vietnam.


The next day, we wandered into another Starbuck’s lookalike, Gloria Jean’s Coffees (turns out this is an Australian company), and it was a familiar feeling. Order at the counter, pick up at the counter. Big cup of coffee available, as well as fruit smoothies and my beloved iced latte. Same same, and same. Except the cute little chocolate croissant. Perfect size, just big enough, 18,000 VND (about one dollar, US).


Prescription glasses are ridiculously inexpensive in Vietnam, so I took the opportunity to have some sunglasses made. This can be done in a day. I don’t wear my glasses that often during the day so I couldn’t justify the expense of having this done at home, but at 600,000 VND (about $34), it was a bargain. College Guy also got new glasses. Then we decided to get sunglasses for the Teen, but his glasses were back at the hotel. No problem. We put him on a motorbike cab with a card for the hotel, and a card for the optical shop. After he left, we wondered if we would ever see him again. While we waited, we consoled ourselves with a traditional coconut treat from a street cart. Drink the juice, and then scoop out the young coconut flesh. Delicious!


DH bought hot coffee from a nearby shop. This is how it’s packaged for takeaway service. Same, same? Completely different!


The Teen did return, and we all ordered our glasses, to be picked up the next day.


We wrapped up our stay with massages. We were going to do the $11 hour massage, but after a bit of discussion, opted for 75 minute shiatsu massages for $20. Best. Massage. Ever. Perfect pre-flight relaxation.



And yes, this will return to being a knitting blog, soon…

15 responses to “Same, same…but different

  1. Ah, the universal, elusive search for the perfect cuppa. That’s what holds the world together!

  2. Halfway Crafter

    I’m an Aussie, and I can vouch for Gloria Jean’s! I love the ‘same same but different’ “take-away coffee”!

  3. Love the coffee-in-a-bag. Pretty smart — no spills!

  4. I could use that bag for my coffee!

  5. I’ve so enjoyed your travel blogs! Vietnam is now for certain on my list for travel destinations. A pre-flight massage? Hmmm – wonder if I can swing that before I fly to LAX tonight. :0)

  6. I’ve loved hearing about your travels to Vietnam! I’ve never really considered it a travel destination before (Anything with tropical humidity and heat isn’t high on my list, lol), but It’s great to see your adventures there. =)

  7. oh man, that is a BARGAIN for glasses! your trip looks like it was a lot of fun (and learning) nice pics!

  8. morewithles

    I can totally relate to the coffee hunt! Thanks for taking us on this journey. 🙂

  9. I’ve looked forward in anticipation to reading your travel log. Vietnam looks awesome. Of course your knitting blog is awesome too!

  10. I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels. You take beautiful photos.

    The embroidered bag is lovely (though I could never get away with keeping a mostly white bag clean).

    I often say, “same sh*t, different texture.”

  11. Love the coffee hunt – not sure about the avacado shake…

    Thanks for sharing your trip – amazing!

  12. Thanks a lot for the travelogue. You got some great photos and stories. So this is supposed to be a knitting blog, eh? Just like mine’s supposed to be a foodie blog! I stopped into the yarn store next to the music conservatory where I’m taking lessons. The owner teaches and I had a fleeting thought of a few beginner lessons if we stay in town. I figure due to the guitar I can’t feel my fingertips anyway so why not take up knitting or needlepoint now? Welcome home. Dee

  13. Love the coffee in a take-out bag. Guess coffee shops outside the U.S. don’t get that mo-is-mo-better idea. Sunglasses for $34? I got mine for $20…Zenni Optical. Thanks, Phil.

  14. You have made me yearn to go!

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