19 February 2017
I'm back in Da Nang Vietnam to teach programming, electronics and robotics to high school students (more about that next week). My last visit was four years ago and the changes are remarkable. On a personal level, last time I was here with my girlfriend, this time I'm with my wife and daughter. On a broader level, the country itself has changed significantly.
Traffic may be the most obvious change. The rickshaws are gone. Motor scooters are still numerous, though they are no longer overloaded with four or more people. Cars are on the rise, including expensive ones. Honking is vastly diminished, and obeying traffic laws appears to be a thing now (sort of). Public transit seems to be less common. Roads are being widened and new highways are being built. In general, Vietnam appears to be on track in faithfully recreating all the mistakes that the US made in urban development.
The city is also undergoing a transformation. Chain stores are springing up, displacing the family-run house-front shops. The "FBI" baseball caps that half the boys were inexplicably wearing in 2013 are all gone, and so are most of the conical straw hats that the older generation wore. Foreigners are more common, four years ago when I stepped outside scooters would pull over and stop to stare, now they only do so if I'm carrying my daughter.
Here is a raw video of our daily drive to school. It may not be particularly interesting right now, but is meant as reference material for use in 5, 10 or 50 years.