Destination: Vietnam

8 Jul

(I apologize for the delayed posts.  I have been using my Flip camera but for some reason, its formatted file is not recognizable in my Windows movie maker.  I have been trying to trouble shoot it but so far, it has been relatively disappointing as the online help has been no help at all, surprisingly.  Once I figure it out, I will soon have videos posted.)

This first week in Vietnam has been a week of discovery and adjusting to Vietnam.  Let me begin with my arrival to Vietnam. I was picked up by a taxi driver hired by my organization and although I can barely understand much of his heavy accented north Vietnamese, I discovered that he looked very similar to my last last boyfriend.  His smile, his expressions and even his height.  I was weirded out completely.  We had a great conversation as we asked each other a lot of questions and I learned a few tidbits about Vietnam.  As I flew on Korean Air to Vietnam, the entire plane was filled with Koreans and as a result, I of course was curious to learn why were there so many Koreans heading to Vietnam?  According to my taxi driver, a lot of Koreans come to Vietnam to invest in the development of hotels.  Many of them even reside here in Vietnam and enjoy the culture greatly.  To all my Korean friends, hey, I know you guys love Pho, but didn’t know you guys loved Vietnam so much.  In return, the Vietnamese love Koreans and their culture.  Immediately from observation of the people here, the hairstyles were very Koreanish, and there is an abundance of Korean channels here, they dominate the TV!  Too bad my Korean is worse than my Vietnamese speaking skills because I could definitely improve on both.

My first meal, for all you foodies out there, with much anticipation I present Bun Bo (Beef vermicelli soup).  Just around the corner of my hotel, and it was about 20,000, which was approximately 1.00.  Score!

Onward, I walked around for a bit, and man is it HOT here.  My skin is darker than my younger sister’s now, and let me tell you, she is dark!  I decided to look for WIFI and discovered an internet cafe called Snowball cafe (Korean influenced) where upon my walk-in I was greeted by a Korean “Annyong!”  I sat down to use their internet cafe and ordered a Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Condensed milk, Cafe Nau.  Cost 25,000 VN, which equates to 1.20.  More expensive than Bun Bo!  Makes no sense!

Cafe Nau at Snowball. Pretty tasty and strong.

I then went to meet my colleague, Ngoc and she showed me around even more, just to help me familiarize with the place.  Eventually, she asked if I needed more rest, and I told her I was fine, until 1 hour later, I got a dizzy spell, and decided to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

I woke up the next day feeling much better, but rather than going out, I decided to stay in and sleep more, for a little.  Then I had to get up, and head to work.  I wasn’t hungry really, so I went to work, crossed this crazy street of mopeds, Xe hoi (Vietnamese motorcylces) and automobiles to get to my work.

Here is an example of Vietnam’s busy traffic:

Starts at 5:30am and ends at around 12am.  I had to cross a street similar to this and it is A LOT wider.  Everytime I cross it, I think, please do not make me another statistic for world traffic accidents.

I finally arrived to the Helen Keller International Office and had an opportunity to talk to the two Ngoc’s and another Ha (Dr. Ha) who is a dude.  So there are two Ha’s and two Ngoc’s.  I find that to be pretty hilarious.

After our introductions,  I was immediately shown my desk and given a packet to read about HKI’s ChildSight program.  This is what I will be involved in.  I will create a seperate post regarding my work here in Vietnam.

Getting off work at 5:30pm caused me to go home to my hotel first (cross the hectic traffic) and realizing my blanket had a nasty, unfamiliar stain.  I of course told the front desk about it, but nothing was corrected so I went on a hunt for a new sheet, but before that I stopped by another eatery for dinner.  This place was very Americanized and appeared “high class.”  The food was definitely much more expensive, and I ended up getting My Bo (Beef noodles).  To my surprise, out came literally Beef on top of RAMEN noodles!  How disappointing!  They added mushrooms and some veggies, but man, that was such a disappointment!  Total came out to 29,000.  Approximately 1.40.  More expensive than US.  Ramen in the US is like 10 cents!

Fancy Vietnamese Restaurant for Dinner

Expensive bowl of Beef Ramen noodle

Expensive Bowl of Beef Ramen Noodle

Soo…my organization gave me only 5 dollars a day to spend on food.  This is dining on a budget.  5 dollars is about 100,000 VN dong.  So far, for the past few days, I’ve been able to stay within the budget HKI has set for me.  So far…so good.  Will update later more on the foods I’ve eaten.  Time to get up and get ready for work now.  Have a good day!

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One Response to “Destination: Vietnam”

  1. Lisa July 8, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Hope you’re enjoying yourself over there sis…. Take extra care of yourself and enjoy.
    Miss you,
    Dat, Lisa, and Jules

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