Trips on the Autobahn and First Impressions of Germany (Frankfurt, Muhlhausen)

I was in Germany for 6 days visiting my wife’s relatives and this has been my first trip to Europe. First stop: Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub, and then Muhlhausen, a small town of 30,000 in the German countryside (it is literally in the woods near castles). Some early thoughts of my experience:

1) You can get a Porsche taxi. The one below was parked, oddly, at an elementary school.

2) Mettbrötchen / Mett is really damn good – it’s raw ground pork on bread, for breakfast.

3) People park their cars ON the curb. This concept will be super familiar with Vietnamese but unheard of for Americans. As a plus, this does free up space on the road, but reduces sidewalk space.

4) The vast majority of the cars being driven are from German carmakers – BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi. Must be 90%, and a count watching cars showed 24 consecutive German cars passing me by. Smart (that’s a car company) cars are super small 2 person vehicles that are allowed to park perpendicular to parking spaces.

5) Frankfurt is a good looking city. It’s got the old-European town feel like (as seen on TV!). Perhaps that’s boring to Europeans though. it’s also consistently clean, at least in the areas that I walked around (financial district, area around the Mein river). Muhlhausen, however, is a real old European town. From the places and homes I visited, Germany in general is really clean.

(Frankfurt and the Mein River)

(Downtown Frankfurt)

(Dom Römer Area)

(Muhlhausen City Center)

(Muhlhausen City Center)

6) Some roads are somehow one-lane two way roads. In case there is oncoming traffic, you either have to back up or with some roads, there is a place you stop on the right hand side so the other car can pass by.

7) While the Autobahn was not the super racetrack freeway I envisioned (in my dreams), Germany still seems like a great place to drive. The Autobahn feels like Highway 5 in California. Perhaps it’s just been too long since I drove a car consistently, but I feel like Germans drive fast.

8) I thought that all 1st world Europeans were fluent in English. This is not so true, at least for spoken English, though Germans do study English in school.

9) Germans neighbors commonly greet each other (“Allo!” for “Hello”, “Cheers” for “Goodbye”) in the mornings – I do not feel like this happens in the US, and it certainly doesn’t happen in Vietnam.

10) Chipotle exists here. As does Footlocker and Gamestop. (I hung around a Frankfurt mall) Starbucks exist but nowhere with the density you will see in the US, or even Tokyo.

For more of my photos from Germany, see:

The Wedding Invite

Huy and Ha Wedding

This was for our (me and Ha) wedding reception a couple of days ago. As it was booked on very short notice (several weeks), we were unable to invite friends from outside Vietnam, or even all of our friends in Vietnam, but it was still a good time.

A Grand Opening Preview of McDonald’s Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City



Yesterday, Ha and I had the opportunity to eat at the first McDonalds in Vietnam. It’s not open to the public yet, and won’t be until February 8th. But from what I’ve seen, it’s absolutely worth checking out, whether you’re a McDonalds / fast food fan or not. The location is in District (Quan) 1, 2-6 Bis Dien Bien Phu, Puong Da Kao (Ward) in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

It’s complete with McDonalds staple, the drive-through, a first in Vietnam. I didn’t get to try the motorbike drive-through, but I want to. Maybe that sounds weird, but as an American living in Vietnam, I can tell you that McDonalds is completely different from any other restaurant, fast food or otherwise, in Vietnam right now. If you live in Vietnam, it will feel completely misplaced, and that’s a good thing. From the sheer size of the restaurant (don’t worry about parking space) to its great wifi (inside joke for my friend Hai Do) to its children’s playground to its prominent arches sign that you will see from very far away, you feel like you’re in an amusement park in the middle of the city.

Ha and I tried a good number of items, a few of which I’ve never had at any McDonalds. In total, we had:

  1. McRoyal with Cheese (Quarter Pounder – remember Pulp Fiction?)
  2. McPork (not sure if these exists in the USA, it’s not a McRib)
  3. McFlurry
  4. French Fries (they are the same ones you know and love)
  5. Apple Pie
  6. Ice Cream Cone (priced at 10K VND, about $.50)
  7. Chicken Wings (I don’t think they are the same as Mighty Wings in the USA, but they are excellent nonetheless)

Yes, that’s a lot of food and we could not finish everything. Everything was excellently delicious however, and the entire experience was very polished.


I can’t wait until I can pick up a Happy Meal toy. But in the mean time, I picked up an adult “toy”, the awesome McDonald’s Vietnam t-shirt shown above. You can pick up your own once it opens. They’re also selling nice travel mugs, a special grand opening pin (got one of those as well; you can see it, albeit not clearly at the bottom of my shirt), and two other shirt options. And because these items are unique to Vietnam, not generic McDonald’s, they make excellent Vietnam souvenirs and gifts if you’re traveling through. (I especially like the French Fry pocket holder shirt, ask about that one)

Get more info on McDonald’s and the Grand Opening through its Facebook Fan Page: