In an attempt to get our air miles up, we went to Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam this month.
Oh, and we were filming some stuff too, but that was just a bonus.
Ramy and I went travelling with a lovely student called Tom (for alliteration purposes, I will call him Larry). So me, Ramy and a lovely lad called Larry (Tom) packed our suitcases, cameras and Dong (Vietnamese currency) and boarded a plane headed for Abu Dhabi. Then another to Ho Chi Min.
Larry (Tom) is studying Accounting at the University of Gloucestershire. Included in his course fees, those lovely buggers at the Uni send him and his class off to see business in development over in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. We definitely studied the wrong course! (I joke, it was fantaaaastic)
Vietnam is really cool. When we got there, customs consisted of a line of very red looking soldiers who when changing shift all stood up, saluted a picture of Ho Chi Min (the Vietnamese president who liberated the country from French rule) in unison and then continued on their business.
Everyone’s super cool over there. Really friendly and nice and not at all angry considering the past. I spent the majority of the trip correcting people on their assumption that I was American and drinking some of the best coffee ever.
The first night we landed. We checked in to a “4-star” hotel and went off to eat noodles.
Our first full day was spent roaming around the city and grabbing shots of some of the amazing architecture from the French colonial era including a very out of place looking Notre Dame.
We went to the post office and the opera house and then McDonalds for a drink.
That night we were going to go out, but we were tired, so we ordered room service and made a music video in the hotel (which is too embarrassing to include in this blog).
The next day we took a very expensive cab out to the Mekong delta – which is a really big river. Like, really, REALLY big.
Here’s where we saw real Vietnam. Hats, rice, little boats I wouldn’t trust in a pond, the were all there.
We shot an interview down by the river to keep away from the wind. We were limited on kit so the entirety of this shoot was done hand held with the a7s on a l-series lens. We wanted the video to feel more like a travel log than a sales video, we decided less was more and relied on the mad wicked skills we’ve honed over our time working on docs for television and film.
After a short (6 hour) journey back to the hotel, we relaxed a bit, then went to get some food (no joke, the place we went had pork uterus on the menu. I did not try this)
The last day we went out to find another interview. Let me tell you about Vietnamese roundabouts. They put ours to shame. I am serious about this … about as serious as they are about their roundabouts.
We shot in the middle of a massive one with the skyline behind Larry (Tom) and asked some questions. We popped on the Google machine and found where Deloitte was (one of the big 5 accounting firms in the world) and stealthily shot from there 14th-floor offices (we’d been given permission, but didn’t want to take the *cough* so we made as little an impression as possible.
All that was left was to pack up, and head to a very boring airport. There was nothing there except a Burger King. Burger King would usually be my number one choice for fast food but Vietnams’ Burger King game was weak.
All in all, a lovely location to shoot in. The weather was temperate (a little too warm for Larry (Tom) but ok for Ramy and me) and the people were lovely. Not as intrusive on shots as the Hong Kong natives and ever so much more eager to help out/ be in shots/ generally makes life easier.
The video will be shared soon as it’s live so keep you’re eyes peeled. Although I’m sure we’ll let you know.
Love you lots