The first time I was out on the streets of Ho Chi Minh, my first city in Asia, it was quite an experience.
It was a combination of sounds, smells, pollution, heat, humidity that I had never experienced before.
Looking around me, everyone seemed to be dancing a frantic dance, in which everyone knew the steps except me.
Slowly I started walking, dodging people and motorcycles that, seeking to advance in the crazy traffic, climbed onto the sidewalks to gain a couple of feet, thinking: what am I doing here?
This lasted a while. Determined to learn the steps, I walked and tried to enjoy the ride. This was why I was there anyway, to shake off everything that I was familiar with and learn new ways of being in the world.
Within a few days I already felt more comfortable crossing streets, buying food and experiencing Ho Chi Minh, the city where so much of our modern history happened.
So many French and then Americans had passed through those streets 100 years ago, when the city was still known as Saigon.
They were probably as confused as I was at first. Many went mad, others died in a sordid inexplicable war.
And many others stayed because it is a delirium that make you fall in love. It attracts you like a magnet of colors and lights that is difficult to resist.
Once you learn the steps, everything becomes easier and you start enjoying that burst of life that is Vietnam.