Amy Salmon's E-Mail from
Vietman (Part 1)
Hello from Ho Chi Minh,
Just wanted to let you know I made it to HCMC in
and have started my class.
was delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm
I chose to use it as a bridge between Thailand
It just felt like a little oasis of calm and serenity and the
First World here in the midst of
mostly Second World Southeast Asia. In some ways the pace is
quicker, but in others it really is, to quote their tourist board's
It's very British in a lot of ways, obviously, but it has a
different feel than Britain.
It has a lot of American and Australian influence, but it
haven't made it to Australia
yet, I doubt it's quite that either. It's uniquely Singapore,
and I found it to be an intriguing place. Very
They get laughed at for being a "nanny state" but it sure is a
place to spend time, and there's nothing wrong with that. They
manners and actually use them, and we could use a little more of that
I think I'll really enjoy my class as well; today
some Filipino and Vietnamese phrases and got to have that "shoe on the
other foot" feeling that our students are experiencing. Of
I've learned languages before, and having spent thirteen months and
Southeast Asia, which is still mostly
incomprehensible to me, it wasn't an entirely new experience, but it
revealing and interesting.
For the moment, I'm staying at the Sunshine
It's pretty nice, the owners are fluent in French, which is fun for
me, it's cheap, and I can use my laptop, although not in the
So I'll probably stay put, although I haven't decided for sure.
move, I'll let you know.
There's a website at http://nhatanhhotel-vn.com if
you want to check it out.
It seems that I can get a sim card for my cell
will work here, so I should have a phone again before long. The
will probably change -- I think it's tied to the card -- so when I get
to set that up I'll let you know. I may have to get a new phone
mine has been dropped a few too many times, most recently when I was on
out to the tuk-tuk who was taking me to the airport on Saturday
That time knocked the plastic face right off and it's lost somewhere in
The rest of it isn't in much better shape. It may be time to
trade it in
for another used one and just hang on to my Thai sim card to pop in
when I get
back to Chiang Mai. At any rate, I'll be reachable by email until
all of that straightened out.
I actually had Vietnamese food for dinner tonight
drum-roll please! -- and I enjoyed it! Sadly, I have no idea what
called, since there was no menu and the only person who spoke English
little joint where I ate didn't seem to understand when I asked her
what it was
called, so I don't know if I'll ever get it again. But it was a
-- pork and carrots and onions in a noodle soup. And cheap --
which is about $1.45. Still getting used to the Vietnamese dong,
no notion as yet of the conversion rate, but I'll get there.
My first impressions of Vietnam? Less chaotic
in some ways, more
in others; just as hot; slightly different scenery; an intriguing
The cars are like ours, that is the steering wheel is on the same side,
theory they drive like we do, but in practice the roads are
No rhyme or reason whatsoever and an endless stream of cars and
motorbikes. I'm really afraid at the thought of crossing the
street. It's miles worse than even Bangkok.
No tuk-tuks, so not as much noise; even the motorbikes aren't as
Less grime. Less Buddhist temples, at least that I've seen so
I've noticed more staring than I do in Chiang Mai, so far; I think
to the part of town where I went to find dinner having no foreigners
anywhere in sight. I doubt that'll hold true in other parts of
town. More things I'm interested in getting out and doing,
there's a history museum and a zoo both within walking distance of
staying that seem worth braving the heat for.
That's all for now. I'm off to take a shower
towards bed; I've got to get up early in the morning. French food
nice incentive, however.
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