Word for the Travel Wise (01/18/06)

Ho Chi Minh city is a bustling place. Bus drivers lay down on blaring loud horns as bikers whiz by on two wheels, motorcycles speed off around corners and pedestrians stay clear while navigating their way through a tangled web of city and private traffic madness. Your options of getting around Vietnam are many and in a place so alive and in constant motion the best way to feel the city beats or even country back roads is by bicycle. How do I know this? I don’t know for a fact. I could be completely wrong. But I’ve read stories about biking through the country and the many joys it can offer the traveler looking to take things at a slower more relaxed pace, even if the rest of the city is going full speed ahead.

Today’s word is a Vietnamese word used in Vietnam:

Xe Ðap – (sur-raap) bicycle

The pronunciation might be a little off, but the way I understood and repeated the word back to a Vietnamese speaker earned high praise. Use it as a guide, but do not hold me accountable for the giggles it may cause combined with your accent, whatever accent you may have. Vietnam is a vibrant place so knowing even a few basic words could be rewarding. This Wanna Learn / Geocities page has some free words and phrases listed. It was one of few I could find online for free though you won’t get far. Rosetta Stone offers audio and web courses for a fee and there’s always the opportunity to take a Vietnamese language class in Hanoi, Vietnam with CIEE. For those flying through the country for just a few short days pick up the phrasebook.