What’s up guys!
So you’ve planned your trip to paradise and you’re looking forward to the party. That’s great! You’re in for a blast. But today I want to discuss one of the negative aspects of life out here.
Pollution in South East Asia
Some of the cities here are fuckin filthy. The streets are littered with trash. Armies of cockroaches scatter out of the way as enourmous rats scamper into the heaps of garbage… You get used to that actually.
What bothers me the most is the horrible air quality. That’s something I can’t get used to. It’s not like the States where there are strictly enforced emissions laws.
In south east Asia, you will see all kinds of motorized contraptions on the roads. Huge buses hauling tourists. Shitty little box trucks overloaded with construction materials. Food stands being dragged by a dilapidated motorbike.
Motorbikes that should have been in the scrap pile a decade ago… No working electronics. All plastic smashed and broken off… Rusting away and belching smoke out of the screaming exhaust pipe.
When I first came to Saigon I laughed at all the Vietnamese people wearing masks everywhere. A lot of them wear the masks to keep the sun off their face. White skin is prized in this part of the world.
But there’s another important reason people wear the face mask. To protect against the pollution and debris in the air.
In Saigon, there is no air conditioned train that will zip you across the city while shielding you from the elements. In Saigon you will be walking and riding a motorbike a lot more.
Also, you will spend a lot of time sitting at outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes. These are located on busy streets with thousands of motorbikes whizzing past you just meters away.
The pollution finally took a toll on my health… I went to see a doctor because I was having trouble breathing. I’ll tell you what, breathing is something you don’t think about and you take for granted until you CAN’T do it without pain and coughing…
It’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world and I’d rather have a broken leg to be honest. The doctor basically said, “you are ok”, took my money and sent me home to wait it out. He must have been right because I’m fine now.
The point of this post is to say, if you plan on staying out here for an extended period of time you need to take care of your health. I recommend buying a good quality face mask and wearing it anytime you ride around. Now I don’t think twice about it. I sit on my bike and on goes my helmet, face mask and glasses.
Riding through the streets you will pass by food stands cooking, small fires on the side of the road from the Viet people burning their fake money for good luck. Construction from big buildings on every corner blowing clouds of dust. Street sweepers sweeping the streets in the evening kicking up even more dust and debris.
Businesses have incense burning and the Viet guys chain smoke all day. Really it’s amazing that Vietnamese men live past 40 the way they smoke… I’ve never seen anything like it.
Even in more rural parts of south east Asia such as Chiang Mai Thailand, the farmers burn off the rice fields which sends a thick haze of smoke over the city. Some expats actually escape for those burn months.
I’ve never had asthma or other health problems but this shit got to me… If you are sensitive to these types of irritants then you need to be extra careful. I’m sure living in a big city for an extended period of time will cut some years off your life. You can’t be breathing that shit in every day without consequences.
I’m still going to sit on the busy street corner and eat my barbeque seafood with cheap beer. That’s what life in Vietnam is all about! I love being outdoors and experiencing the mayhem that is Vietnam. But I will take certain steps to protect my health.
Wear a quality face mask as much as possible, work out indoors or in green areas away from traffic, take breaks from this filthy city and enjoy a holiday by the beach. Nothing like that cool ocean breeze!
Don’t worry about looking goofy with the mask on. When you got some nasty cough and respiratory infection fucking up your holiday you will wish you wore one.
Have fun, be safe.