Being a nurse specialising in travel medicine means having to keep up with international trends, disease outbreaks and emerging vaccines (among other things) and is a great excuse to attend conferences around the world. I usually try to spend a bit of extra time in the destination country and in 2014 was lucky enough to do that in Vietnam, after attending the 10th Asia Pacific Travel Health Conference in Ho Chi Minh City. For those who have yet to experience crossing the road in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is definitely a baptism by fire and not for the faint hearted. Traffic is heavy and moves constantly, so with no breaks and few crosswalks to provide an appropriate moment to get to the other side the trick is to simply step off the pavement into the oncoming traffic, walking steadily and in a straight line so that instead of you avoiding the traffic, the traffic avoids you. I had had a few days practice prior to my friend arriving for a tour of the south with me and she was initially horrified when, instead of stopping at the kerb of a busy road to look right, then left, then right again (I had a careful Mum), I looked straight ahead and stepped off in front of barrage of bikes, buses, cars and motorcycles.
It is quite scary but I have to admit also a little exciting – part of the vibe of a beautiful city, rich in history and culture. With lots of things to see and experience up and down the country, Vietnam should definitely be on your bucket list.