Photo: Kevin Williams
I took out my phone and began frantically taking pictures of my passport as the hundred-person-plus customs line inched forward. “You’ll get your passport back a little later,” someone at the head of the line told me. ”They’re going to hold on to them for a while.” I wasn’t sure if this person was an influencer, a journalist I didn’t recognize, or a VinFast employee. But it’s not like I had a choice. I mean, what was I going to do? The Vietnamese customs agent looked me up and down and put my passport in a pile with all the others.
By the end of this trip, sending my passport into the ether wouldn’t even rank among the top 10 craziest things I’d be privy to.
I was in Vietnam to sample the automotive fruits of VinFast; the fast-moving automotive startup had just begun selling electric cars in its home country and was already promising to bring them to the United States. I definitely learned something about VinFast, but it wasn’t exactly what the company wanted me to see.