Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lucky Day Continues

As the Restaurant was closing on "Lucky Day" Ha informed me they had another wedding to attend tomorrow. As someone always needs to be at the restaurant, she asked me to attend in her place with Mr. Vong. I thought why not. Ha then told me I needed to come down early in the morning to wash my nice clothes that were ruined from the rain that day and for a special trip to the salon. I took this as Ha's nice way of saying I look like crap.

Lucky Day's end result was me eating a feast and not running, so I made sure to wake up extra early to get my run in. I had a quick shower, scrubbed my pants clean and then headed to the salon to get my hair washed, dried, and straightened. I returned to see Ha's jaw drop, not realizing that I actually can clean up my appearance. A quick iron of my pants and I was ready for a lunchtime wedding.

The Vietnamese work 7 days a week with a lunch time brake from 11:30-1:30 everyday. So when these lucky days.. or should I say lucky weeks happen, events are always during the lunch hour so people can come.

As we pull up to the hall where the "wedding" is there are 2 girls with white dresses and people coming from all different directions in all different attires. As we walk in I am immediately rushed to trying to figure out why I'm here. Mr. Vong assures whoever it was I was his guest. We found a table in the back with "friends" and got comfy for our 2 hour "show". As I sat there taking everything in I realized there were no seating charts. People were sitting wherever they felt like. What a great concept. I might just adopt that idea when I get married.

The procession starts and I realize those 2 girls in the white wedding dresses are actually brides maids. Just when I think it's finished, a procession of 5 cakes start and then cutting of the cakes, which we never ate. Then comes the MC, which I couldn’t understand for 2 reasons. The first obviously being I cant understand Vietnamese and the second was because I was wearing ear plugs. I was warned before to bring them if I had a pair. The volume was deafening. So I stuck them in and covered my ears with my newly straightened hair. It was perfect, because then came the karaoke.

I don’t know what constitutes a Vietnamese wedding. There were no vows, no kiss, just a procession, pictures on stage, cake cutting (but no eating), and karaoke during the entire 2 hours. Either way it was a blast.

The woman I sat next to at the wedding spoke English and got into a whole story about how she hated her husband when she first got married because she had to stay home and have babies and clean the house, but now she can work so she is much happier. We sat there chatting it up while the men drank enormous amounts of beer, always with a clink of the glasses and a "yo" the Vietnamese cheers and occasionally a "100%" where the men chugged their glasses as fast as they could.

All and all it was a very entertaining 2 hour occasion. As soon as those 2 hours were up, people cleared out as fast as they came in except this time they were drunk. Let's just hope their luck continues and everyone made it home safely.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lucky Day!

The Vietnamese are all about being lucky. Lucky this, lucky that. Today was no different. For one reason or another March 29 is a lucky day, which means wedding celebrations are in full swing. And I mean full swing, anyone that was thinking about getting married will be doing it on the 29th due to the "luck" the day brings them.

The engaged couple
Last week I secured an invitation to Ha and Thuey friends engagement party on the 29th, only to come home and be asked by Ha to go to a wedding with her on the same day. Sadly I had to decline. So this morning I headed out to the hotel to meet the girls. We double biked, ferried, and motor biked all the way to.... I don’t even know her name's engagement party. It sounded like Ann but every time I said it no one had any idea what I was saying. I'm ashamed.

Men sitting at a seperate table giving sacrafices

Either way I was greeted with open arms. We arrived early and I was given the "please take a seat order" while everyone around me seemed to have a job. The elders of the bride and grooms family sat in a room and gave sacrifices on an altar while the cousins and aunts were in the kitchen slaving away. I was told that all the women of the family slept over the night before and woke up at 3 am to start cooking. The food never stopped. We had salad, squid, chicken, beef, shrimp, soup, another kind of soup, bread, and rice.


cooking in the kitchen

family picture

As the guests leave, their hosts give them cigarettes and toothpicks

The family served the elders and the "guests" first. We had nothing shy of a feast. Once we were finished, the bride and groom and their family were able to sit and enjoy a meal. It was so different then what would happen back at home, but it was so enjoyable. The men and women sat at different tables, but there was still that one mixed table with the "people you don’t know where to put". Yes, I was at the table and rightfully so. Either way it was a day to remember.

On the way home it started to pour. By the time I reached home I was soaked head to toe. I took a warm shower and due to my lack of clothing I wrapped myself up in bed and took a snooze. I woke up around 6pm and decided to take the plunge. I was going to try and be a customer at the restaurant downstairs.

Me soaking wet!

It's been a strange transition not working there anymore. I have tried to stay away for dinner time and explain I have plans hours in advance so I’m not asked to work. So I put in my order and out comes Ha. I gave her my big smile and said tonight I'm a customer. She replied with her usual, "You help me" During my 5 second contemplation, she continued, "Mr. Vong went to wedding and drink too much" As she said this he appeared loud, swaying, and definitely in no shape to help any customers. So like the sucker I am, I agreed.

I ran back upstairs to put on all the dry clothes I had and came down to a party of 13. Mr. Vong was welcoming them and saying "drink beer, what do you want!!" As they shouted out orders, I grabbed Mr. Vong and said a firm but polite, "No, you go to bed" but what I really was saying was "please don’t make this any harder on me" He understood and happily retreated to his room.

The night ended up being great. We had tons of customers that for one reason or another ended up ordering very similar meals, which made all of our jobs very easy. I ended the night with a glass of wine thinking maybe March 29th is a lucky day after all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

328 Cua Dai

Now that Mr. Vong is back (Ha's husband), I find myself in a difficult position. They are still feeding me my meals and I think I'm still expected to help at the restaurant. I really enjoy helping them, but 24/7 wasn’t what I signed up for, not that I signed up for anything at all.

Today at lunch, Mr. Vong came home with a 24" flat screen TV and said "for you"! So now I guess I know what my payment is. What a nice gesture, but the only thing is, I don’t watch TV, so the small little TV in my room before was perfect. And this new TV doesn’t have the right cables to make the picture clear. So technically I was just downgraded. Either way I graciously accepted and felt myself sinking deeper into their debt.

This afternoon, I found myself playing cards with Ha and her sister My. Usually the game is played for money so instead we said loser has to cook. Well well well, guess who was the loser. ME! So into the kitchen I went. Ha and My followed me in and showed me what to do and how to make dinner. Ha wanted me to cook all night. She obviously doesn’t know how bad I am, because none of her customers would come and eat at "328 Cua Dai" again.
Cooking up a storm....

My, Ha's sister in the kitchen

As we sat down to a semi delicious meal prepared by the one and only "Met" a tour director squashed our dreams of a quite night and told us 16 people were coming in at 7pm. What a busy night we had.

The restaurant

Thought you'd want to see some pictures of my home 328 Cua Dai. Enjoy and remember, you're always welcome for a visit!! I will try my hardest to get off work that night.

Ha in front of the stairs leading to my part of the house
my bathroom

my comfy bed

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Morning Run- "The Rice Paddy"

About a month ago, I got an email from a friend back at home asking me to run a leg in the marathon back at home in Burlington, Vermont. After a short 2 minute g-chat (instant messaging) conversation I said yes. So with my goal set, I started running.

You don’t see very many people exercising in Vietnam. The only time they do is at night and there is a designated area where everyone goes. I've never been a rule follower and I don’t plan on starting here in Hoi An. Needless to say I don’t run at night or in the designated area.

I usually run early in the morning or as the sun is setting but being careful not to catch myself in the middle of my run when it's dark. I know I said I'm not a rule follower, but there are some precautions I like to take. I always tell someone I'm going running, today it was Ha. I told her if I don’t come back in an hour call the police. I always carry my phone with me, more for the stop watch then anything else, but I'm hoping this will make my mother not have the millionth heart attack I know she's been having while I'm over here.

Yesterday was my "day off" from running. With high hopes today I headed out for a longer morning run than usual. John and Jennifer are both fantastic runners and have showed me their usual path's where the dust and traffic are at bay. Today I chose the "Rice Paddy Run" I started it a few weeks back but it was just a little too far to finish it. However, John told me that to finish it, I'd come to a T and all I needed to do what take a right.

I should have taken all that happened this morning as "signs" not to run. I opened my door and the heat just smacked me in the face. It was only 8am but it was so humid. All the praying to the sun gods finally paid off. I headed downstairs and realized I forgot my phone. Back up the stairs I went. Just about to head out again, I realized my shoe was falling apart, which is an every day occurrence here. I have invested in super glue for my Vietnam running sneakers that are constantly falling apart. So back up the stairs I went to get the super glue. Finally I was ready.

I'm running along, getting my usual stares and hello's from little children when I come to this T. I take a right and find myself smack dab in the middle of a rice paddy. Usually I run through the rice paddy, but I've been keeping to the paved roads line with houses. This was a dirt path, lined with water buffalo and their poop. (Sorry to be so gross but it was everywhere.) So I got out my cell phone and woke John up and said, "Are you sure I'm going the right way"? He assured me I was and I kept on trucking along.

Up ahead I saw the biggest water buffalo I've ever seen. It took up the entire path. Chuckling to myself, I thought this is where I'm going to die. This stupid animal is going to charge at me and throw me into either the water on my left or on my right. Quick thinking on my feet, I took a right and went on a very narrow path where I decided it would be better to walk. I could see up ahead that the path would drop me back on my original route but past the buffalo. What I didn’t see was that I had to walk through the middle of someone’s house. Luckily, no one was home. No harm, No foul.

So I continued on, one foot in front of the other and finally found myself back at home where I was greeted by Ha who said, "1 hour, I almost call police!" I'm just glad she understood what I told her in the first place!

So rest assure ladies back in VT, the running is going great. Now if I can only stay away from these water buffalo and make it home in one piece!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How I ended up working at a restaurant...

Well the short answer is.. I have no clue. But we all know I can't just give a short answer so here it is! I live above a restaurant and my landlords Ha and her husband. They cook all day long on top of laundry service, bike rental, motorbike rental, and just being the general "go to" people. But, this week Ha's husband is out of town.

I went into town the other night for the super moon celebration. Upon my return I realized that I hadn’t paid Ha for my dinner and laundry the night before. When I went into the restaurant I noticed Ha was extremely busy so I sat and waited patiently. I've really nothing better to do. While I was waiting, a man came up and asked for 2 beers. Ha smiled and said OK, and then turned to me and said Met (She cant pronounce Meg) 2 beers, you help me? Of course I would help her.

Well, getting 2 beers turned into being a full on waitress until 11pm. It was great. I've no experience but I've sure eaten at enough restaurants to know what I'm "supposed" to be doing. I must have done ok because she asked me to come back the next night to help her. That night we had a party of 16. And by we, I mean me. But somehow I managed.

Sadly, there are no tips in Vietnam. And I don’t really know what I'm getting in exchange for my help. I've already paid my rent up-front so there will be no discount. I haven’t been given any sort of pay for the last 2 nights. And if I did, I heard the going rate is $2 A DAY. Something tells me free meals and free laundry are coming my way for the next month and that's fine by me, seeing that's my only expense here. Plus working at the "328 Restaurant" in Hoi An, Vietnam is such a resume booster in itself. ;)

And one more thing.. no Vietnamese people come to this restaurant, only foreigners. So the language barrier isn’t a problem with the customers, but sometimes it can be with Ha! Oddly enough, I'm loving every minute of it and will enjoy it for the week it lasts!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Tribute to Cape Cod!

A few posts back I mentioned that I went over to Thuey’s house one afternoon. Her brother showed up while I was there. As he started to walk into the house I noticed his shirt said cranberries. I’m embarassed to say this, but at first I thought of the band. As he walk passed me, it all clicked. I did a little yell, and gestured with my hands for him to come back. And there it was....

Can you believe that? All the way over here in Hoi An Vietnam. I explained to Thuey that this is where I live. Now, I know that I don’t actually live there, but it’s hard enough getting simple points across to my Vietnamese friends, so kept it simple and said my home!!

La Plage

So here it is! My love in Hoi An, La Plage. There are two main beaches here in Hoi An- Ang Bang for the locals and Cua Dai for the tourists. Upon my arrival a month ago, the Borch’s showed me this wonderful spot. It’s tucked away on the local beach. It’s the spot where all the expat’s living and working in Hoi An come to relax. It’s owned by a French man who has mad it feel like you’re right at home with his western menu only for you to be reminded where you are when you go to use the toilet. But let’s focus on the positive here! It’s seculded, clean, and a little piece of heaven!

I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to post about this amazing spot here in Hoi An. It’s been raining for the last week and maybe I’m hoping this post will show how much I appreciate and love La Plage and with that the Sun God’s will come back out so I can enjoy it once again!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moving Day Continued....

Of course it had to start raining right as I was about to leave my hotel and head out on my bike with all my bags in tow. The semi-short bike ride seemed like it took forever with the drizzle and the constant shifting of my belongings. Nevertheless I arrived.

It took me all of 20 minutes to unpack my things and then I headed out on a motorbike ride to the "police" with Mrs. Ha, my landlord. The Borch's reassured me that they went through the same process with their landlord so I wasnt too worried. When we got to the "police" I noticed the sign said public notary and I just chuckled, with my nerves calming. Mrs. Ha's husband was there waiting for us with a pile of documents. I guess this is a big process for the Vietnamese.

I was given a contract, in Vietnamese of course, and as I stared at it trying to look like I had developed these Vietnamese skills everyone knows I'm lacking, a lovely translator came to my side. She explained the contract in the following manner....

You move into Ha's? You see the room yet? You pay $200. You dont brake pay. You dont fix anything.. Ha's husband. you stay 1 month. 3/16-4/16. OK -Sign.

Yes my 4 page contract was translated into that. What was I to do? Sign the contract! As I signed my "Life" away followed by a fingerprint I was praying to all the god's in the sky... please let me go home to the United States one day.

Ha took me back to the apartment. I havent taken any pictures so I will try and describe it to you. It's a two story building. The bottom is Ha's house and a wonderfully delicious restaurant. The top is mine! It's perfect. That's my description for now. So we get back to Ha's and she has me fill out another form and then ask's for a passport photo. I was in luck. I had some taken in India for my upcoming travels and they gave me 8 which at the time I thought was hysterical. What would I ever need 8 passport photos for? So I brought Ha one picture and she says no 8. So I went back upstairs and grabbed the other ones I had totaling 7 and she said ok ok ok. So magically the number went from 8 to 7 but that's ok with me. One less thing I had to do.

It rained the rest of the day and I spent it curled up in my big bed watching cable TV feeling like a queen. Around 7:30pm I get a phone call from my friends from the hotel! They wanted to come see my place. As they pull in the drive way, Ha and her family are ferociously cooking dinner for a tour group of 30 and give me that look like, what are you doing? I felt like I was back under the wrath of my parents house all over again. I explained that they were my friends and they were coming to see my new home in as little words as possible because you see I’m lacking Vietnamese, Ha’s lacking English. (two peas in a pod!) You would think my Vietnamese friends could just talk to my Vietnamese landlord but no they left that all up to the non-Vietnamese American. The end result-As long as they werent living there with me Ha was all smiles.

My friends were so happy for me, calling my place "comfortable". To put it into perspective I think of my place as a little palace. Marble floors and walls, a kind size bed, all the perks of being at home. So I think comfortable is translated into amazing. I showed them the contract and without me even asking they translated the whole thing into English for me. They came up with basically the same thing the translator said. So you can rest assure that I will be coming back to the USA with my dignity intact. Moving Day was a success!!

I've added some pictures to my last post! Make sure you check them out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Moving Day

Today is the day that I move into my apartment! The atmosphere at the hotel is very melancholy. I broke the news that I'd be moving out two days ago and you would have thought that I told them I was going to die tomorrow. I think they were under the impression that I was going to move in. Well, to be fair to them I do eat my breakfast at their kitchen table and they cook me lunch if I'm around at lunch time and I play cards with them (this being the most meaningful) sooo maybe their impression wasnt all that distorted.

Either way,today is the big day. I spent a little while packing yesterday with my door open so everyone could march on by and see that it was a reality. It was more for my non-english speaking friends that had no idea what I was saying when i told them I was leaving. Everyone popped their head in with that look of horror.

The owner of the hotel, Ms. Thu begged, she said she would discount, but I told her I already gave a deposit, which might have been a little white lie. When she knew I wouldnt budge she invited everyone out for coffee on my behalf. Me, Ms. Thu, Ha and Thuey headed out, once again at 8am, for a relaxing morning with the locals. We had a great time. Ha and Thuey didnt even want to talk to me they were so sad. I kept reassuring them that i'll still come and see them and they can come to my home and once they realized that I meant every word, they quickly got over their crummy attitude, I was once again invited over for a meal at their family home.

Later that afternoon I headed out on my bike to their house. We did a little more wandering around this time and I happened to find their backyard! It was full of Cum Quat tree's (the christmas tree of TET) pigs, cows, ducks, all for sale of course. Ha took a shower and left me in the back with her niece and when she returned with high heals, dressed to the nines, the Vietnamese nines, she saw her mother coming from the field with her cows and she got in the cow barn and started putting out hay. Laughing to myself I thought how different this would be if we were in America. I would have run away if I saw my mother coming if I was going out for a night on the town and I NEVER would be willing to jump into a cow barn when I was dressed and ready to go out. More power to them! Maybe I'm just a little brat and need to start embracing this "effortless" attitude. Either way, we had a great night.

So my bags are fully packed and I'm in my last hour at the hotel (using the free internet) Of course it just started to rain so this shall be interesting. Just wanted to give you all an update. Hope you're all well.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I woke up yesterday to beautiful weather and as I havent been to the beach all week
(I know though life right) I thought'd I'd show Janie Ang Bang beach. As we sat there falling asleep to the waves we heard a little noise. "Bing" It was Janie's cell phone. Wait, another "bing" - 2 text messages within 30 seconds of each other. 1 from a friend in Thailand and another from a friend n England. Both with the same message 'Tsunami Warning be careful'

As she reads this out to me, I just kinda shrug my shoulders. I never have had to worry about these things before so i didnt freak out and panic. I just thought oh interesting- Then reality hit me...I'm sitting on a beach looking at the ocean. All I have is my bike and I couldnt out bike a Tsunami if my life depended on it (which it would) and Hoi An is 100% flat except for Marble Mountain. Ok well it's time to get off your butt Megan...

We went up to the covered part of the beach place we were staying and looked at a map. Vietnam is directly south-west of Japan with nothing in between. So my freakout level rises (just a little though) Enough thought that we decided to bike back into town.

10 minutes into our journey home, I realize that we've just been biking parallel with the beach the entire time and I just start laughing. Way to have those survivor skills Megan. So I get into this giggle fit and Jane picks up on it and joins in as well. Totally high on adrenaline we are laughing and saying all the things we want to do at that very moment... yes they were all overindulging and very bad for us!! We continued biking home while everyone, westerners and Vietnamese looked at us like we were crazy as we're saying "we're all going to die"

We finally got into loud speaker territory and nothing seemed alarming, the dogs didnt seem to be picking anything up with their "sixth sense" and the locals weren't running around like chicken's with their heads cut off- as I think they would if the Tsunami actually was coming.

We went right to a internet place.... well not right there. We picked up our laundry, went to the post office and stopped to take some pictures of school kids. Oh ya know, the things necessary when there might be a Tsunami about to hit you. We finally made it to the internet cafe and found out.. we're OK and we should continue to be OK. After emailing mom, (laughing at the state she'd be in when she figured what happened while she was sleeping) i vowed that today was a day worth getting a cocktail for! And that's just what I did....

Friends Times 3

I've had a wonderful week spent with new friends here in Hoi An. Woman's Day was a true day of women bonding. My friendship with Ha and Thuey strengthened and I met a new friend, Jane.

Ha and Thuey had a day off from work at the hotel and we planned a trip into Da Nang to catch a movie and shop at the Big C. It's an odd, but very refreshing feeling that going into Da-Nang is a 'big deal' by bus might I add. Something so simple can mean so much. A true sign of a life of simplicity. We had a great time shopping for the simplest things like shampoo and conditioner.

It's wonderful having native Vietnamese friends. Even though their English is quite well, things still get lost in translation. So here came Jane, my english friend. She is so lovely and in a weird way I feel like I've known her my whole life. We get on very well and have enjoyed spending time together.

So my social life is starting to take off here! I've got 3 friends and ones going to leave in a few days. 3 friends are better than none! Glad to know I can still make friends on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Woman's Day

I know my last post was called girls day, but that was self declared. Today is the real Holiday "Women's Day"! It's a big hit over here, as women are not usually the center of attention.

I've been staying in the same hotel for the last 3 weeks. No it's not the four season's, but the people have been very kind. I've become friendly with one of the girls that work here, Thuey. (Pronounced Two-E) Last night she asked me to play cards, the favorite past time of the Vietnamese. Abruptly the water pipe broke and she wasnt able to play any longer. Instead she invited me for coffee in the morning, 8am to be exact!

I woke up bright and early and the receptionist greeted me with a "Happy Woman's Day" Ahhh so that's why the streets lined up with flowers yesterday. Thuey picked me up on her motorbike and we went to get Pho, the typical Vietnamese breakfast. Then we met her boyfriend Thang (pronounced like the orange drink Tang) for coffee. We learned all about each other. We were having such a good time she invited me back to her house.

Not knowing what the proper etiquette of Vietnam is, I stopped at one of the stalls selling flowers to get something for her mother. Her family couldnt have been any nicer. They didnt speak a lick of English but once again cards brought us together.
They prepared a wonderful meal for me and asked me question after question (all through Thuey of course) It was such a wonderful and unexpected morning.

I went back to the hotel to find a group of females "lounging" at work playing cards. I could get used to this woman's day thing. They greated me with another "Happy Woman's Day" and asked me to play cards with them. I thought we were having a good time, but abruptly they all got up and left on their motorbikes. I was all confused but they later returned with cakes, all for their moms. They explaned to me that one of the girls got 31 points and the game was over. Here I was thinking I smelled bad. While they took turns going home to visit the woman of their lives, I sat and thought about how special this day was. So I went out and bought a cake for the woman in my life.. my hotel ladies! They were so excited when I got back.

We're just about to cook ourselves dinner at the kitchen in the hotel and enjoy the delicious cake! Happy Woman's Day to us! It's nice to know woman all over the world, of all nationalities can unite!

I guess woman's day is celebrated internationally, not just in Vietnam. So to all my favorite woman back at home ... Happy Woman's Day to each of you. Thinking about you always over here in Vietnam!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Girls Day

As most of you know, I've great friends from Vermont living in Hoi An for the year. We have been taking advantage of each others company over the past 2 weeks. Both parties excited to have someone that brings a reminder of life back at home, while enjoying all that Vietnam has to offer.

We all know my love for pampering and fortunately, that is one of the many things that Vietnam has to offer. Spa's galore!

The Borch's have 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl. The boys birthday's will be happening while I'm still here, but Bri's was back in October. Well it's never too late to get a birthday present is it? Nope!

I picked her up from school and we headed to the Spa Street (literally a street lined with spa after spa) We tired to get a quick refreshing drink before heading into our relaxing afternoon. I ordered a mango shake and Bri ordered a coke. I got a Mango pancake and Bri got her coke. As we laughed about another "lost in translation' episode, we enjoyed the mango pancake all the same.

I sat there reading the long list of services they provided while we both got beautiful manicure's and pedicure's all for a measly $7. The words eyebrow wax kept popping up. So friends, I caved.. Some of you know I spent the month's of November and December back at home growing out my eyebrows so they could be maintenance free. My girlfriends had a chuckle, my mom begged me to get them 'fixed' before Christmas, yet I still insisted of going all nat-ur-al. They are back to normal now. And to add insult to injury the lady 'fixing' them said, "you keep eyebrow for long time". Obviously I couldnt wait to share with my girlfriends back at home!

Another lovely day here in Vietnam!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Trip to the City

Yesterday I took a trip into the city, Da Nang that is. It's about an hour away from quite and pleasant Hoi An. I grabbed the public bus at about 10 in the morning. As I sat patiently on our very, im talking snail crawling slow bus (obviously so we could pick up as many as people possible) I realized that I was a rude neighbor to my fellow Ex-pats in Hoi An and quickly shot off a text back to friends seeing if i could get them anything. Now in America if that happened, people would usually say no, because a trip to the market is usually conveniently on the way to something else you have to do within your day. Not the case in Hoi An. I had short lists of chocolate and butter, two things hard to find in Hoi An.

So the kind bus driver tell's me where to get off so I can get to "The Big C" He gives me that look like "obviously a tourist would only go into Da Nang for The Big C I should have known." I just shot him back a big thank you smile as I was pushed out the door. "The Big C" was a little slice of heaven. It was a 4 story shopping mall, grocery store, and cinema all rolled into one! Did i mention it was air conditioned? The Borch's tried to prepare me but I was so overwhelemed when i get in. So I went up to the movies. They had a few to pick from but one was only playing right then so i bought my $2 ticket, a soda and popcorn (yes real popcorn) and headed in. The first scene was so scary I walked out and left. I felt like my mother. I justified it by thinking the movie was only $2 and it's not worth the nightmares I know I would get. Giggling to myself, all the workers just looked puzzled. They tried to get me to see a romantic movie which started an hour before and I said it's ok i'll come back later and buy another ticket. So I slurped down my soda took a handful of popcorn and discarded the rest.

My real mission of the day was to buy sneakers. It was like finding a needle in a hay stack. There was 1 street in the whole city that sold shoes. I went up to 5 stores asking if I they had sneakers for me. If they understood me they just laughed and if they didnt they just stared back at me. Women dont buy sneakers in Vietnam, they buy 5 inch heals. Oh and did i mention they have the skinniest feet too! I ended up with a boy's sneaker for $12. Mission accomplished.

Back to the big C! I did some searching all around. Up and down every isle!!! Then finally headed off to see "No Strings Attached" A movie a little more like my style. I even stayed the for the whole thing. And no I didnt buy more soda and popcorn.

The day was quite the adventure. It was lovely. So lovely that I almost fell asleep and dinner that night and slept until 11am this morning. A new record!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tidbits about Vietnam

Now that I'm settling in a new country, I'm starting to observe all these strange things around me. I've traded the beeping horns, barking stray dogs, trash, and lack of electricity for the exact opposite.

The beeping horns have now turned into semi 'quite' streets with loud speakers shouting government propaganda. I never know what they're saying, so god forbid something bad is actually happening I would hope someone would just fill me in. Even worse, maybe they're saying awful things about America as I parade around the streets. Let's hope note.

The barking stray dogs are nowhere to be found here. Can anyone guess why? Thats right! It's because they're scooped up and serve to you in your local restaurant. No sadly I'm not kidding. So in case you ever have a dog over here, make sure you put a collar on that thing! Otherwise bye bye!

India was full of trash, as I'm sure you all remember. On the contrary, as Vietnam is a Communist country, government is all over the trash situation. There is a singing, yes it plays music, garbage truck that seems to come everyday to pick up trash in front of my hotel. Who need's an alarm clock when you have a singing garbage truck?

As for electricity, it's everywhere. The power is always live and sizzling. On a rainy day you can hear the crackle and pops. I cringe every time I plug something into an outlet. I dont dare change a light blub! One time I made the mistake of touching the computer screen. Woops, big shock!

Overall, Vietnam is wonderful. Nothing like I thought it would be. Hoi An reminds me of a burlington (where I live in the US) on the other side of the world. It's full of restaurants, shops, etc. But instead of beautiful green mountains, it has the sandy white beaches! That's all of the tidbit's I can think of at the moment. I'll be sure to fill you in if anymore come to mind.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Update in Hoi An

I've had a lot of complaints lately about my laziness with the blog. Now that I'm settling here in Hoi An my life isnt as interesting as all the traveling from before.

So first, a status update. I have found a place to live, but I'm not moving in until March 15th. So I have some time left to be pampered in a hotel. (hardly) My room has a window, but it opens up to a cement wall. It's on the first floor right by reception, so I hear everything as early as 6am and as late as 11pm. So that's always lovely. As many of you know, I have a phobia of mice. When the fan is on in my room, I cant hear any of my surrounding noises. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I am faced with the decision of leaving the fan off and sweating all night while being able to hear those squeaks or vise versa. So far I have chosen wrong every night. I either wake up because I'm cold, thinking I can hear squeaks or I wake up because I'm warm, I turn the fan on and then make up squeaks in my head with the fan as background noise. So hopefully after 2 months of being here, i'll just get over that phobia, and hopefully sleep just great during the night. In all actuality, my hotel is great. The family that owns it are very nice and are very excited i'll be occupying my room for a long period of time.

My days have been filled lately. My Aussie friends left yesterday. It was lovely to see them again and to have someone to share my time with! I've been relaxing on the beach out at La Plage, but that needs a blog all on its own! Today, I had the pleasure of going into the classroom where Jennifer is teaching. It was great watching the kids brains in action all day. Now I'm off to some yoga to wrap up my day. I will make sure to keep the posts coming. I might think it's boring, but I'll let you all make you're own judgments as well.

Hoping everyone is happy and healthy back at home. Love you all!