Monday, March 31, 2008

Is it still called a biker gang if they are on scooters?

Well guys, the countdown has started.
28 more days until I am on a plane leaving for Vietnam. We've been going through a lot of preparation: passports, visas, plane tickets and applying to volunteer organizations. We are leaving in four weeks and STILL aren't sure of what city we are in. I'm kinda counting on Da Nang, but we will see.
On Friday all of the international travelers had a meeting with Jonathan, our internship adviser, where we got some advice and some warnings about what to look out for, prepare for and just some general advice. The most important information I got out of the meetings is as follows: Do NOT swim in freshwater, mosquitoes in other countries are sick, people in other countries love maple syrup even though they aren't sure what to do with it, and it is very accepted for local people to point, stare and comment if you are white. Therefore I am not supposed to be shocked if gangs of gentlemen on motorized scooters start catcalling at me and my friends... simply because we have white skin.
Also, my roommate Grace, who is traveling to Ecuador, showed me in her travel guide that condoms are a wonderful travel item. Even if the traveler has no intention to use them, they make a great gift! (But does it beat Maple Syrup??) .
We have been taking Vietnamese lessons for a few months now. I know the basics:
Hello = Xin Chao
Goodbye = Tam biet
Please give me spring roll= Lam on, cho toi banh cuon
Thank- you = C'am 'on

I find some things very confusing. For example, the word for water is the same as nation. So I might not be sure if someone was asking me if I was parched or where I am traveling from. But our teacher whose name's English translation is Ocean, has been really great, giving us some tips on what to say and how to act while we are traveling in his home country. We were invited over to Ocean's house to meet his wife, child and have a traditional Vietnamese dinner. We looked at their wedding pictures in traditional outfits and found out that a tailor could fix us up with a similar beautiful costume. Their stories and pictures made us all very excited for traveling.

Well, that's all for now! Hope people continue reading and following along with my adventures!

Check out the pictures from our dinner at Ocean's here

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