Poor Alec is on guard duty today so I finally have the time to wake up late, sweep the floor, tidy my desk, and blog!
OK. Where was I. Oh yes, Vietnam Trip. That happened in Oct. Oh Shit. I can't believe I'm still blogging about things that happened 3 months back. Better buck up.
Wow, the Vietnamese participants were like super-absorbent sponges. Unlike Singaporeans (especially Public Officers) who are often overtrained, the Vietnamese were really really appreciative of all the training that we gave. They were thirsty for knowledge and participated seriously and actively in every single activity and discussion, and were surprisingly open and candid in sharing about their own administration system in Vietnam. They religiously took down notes, asked for slides, thought through what we shared and were proactive in discussing about how they would translate our reforms and apply onto theirs. They loved all the insights and constantly thanked us for all the sharing. Gosh, I felt so appreciated, I was on the verge of tears.
Here they are! They made me a lovely Ao Dai, a traditional Vietnamese Dress, as farewell gift. Everyone agreed I looked like a Vietnamese girl and one even suggested that I marry a Vietnamese man so our Vietnamese kid will become a future leader who is good at public admin reforms. LOL.Anyway, I wouldn't want to wear a Ao Dai for life. I guess I did look remotely like an hour-glass in my Ao Dai, but really, I was horribly suffocating in it. The dress was made to fit me exact exactly so much so I couldn't sit down without bursting the buttons. And I had to loosen the zip on my pants after eating a tiny sandwich for lunch. Really squeezed all the fats out of me. I felt like a Ba Zang unfortunately wrapped in 2 pieces of banana leaves that are too small to house all the meaty fillings and chestnuts inside. Eeeks.
And so you thought there wasn't any shopping for me to do in Hanoi, didn't u? Well, u can't be more wrong! Hohoho. My favourite buy was this cutesy pinky mao1 mao1 bag and pouch. They're really cheap! The pouch is about $2 and the bag is only $4.50. Four dollars and Fifty Cents. The bag is retailing at a bloody $39.90 in those push carts! I love it loads. I have a serious impulse to visit Vietnam again just to lug all the mao1 mao1 stuff home.
The Adidas cylindrical shoe bag is really practical! The colour combi is nice and Alec said the www.adidas.cn stitching at the corner looks really cool. $6 nia. Cheap dao siao! I've been lugging all my gym barang in it for 3 months and it still looks as good as new!
Pretty dragonflies and handphone pouches! All the flowers on the pink pouch have already fallen off. Sniff. Alec managed to retrieve one of the many flowers, and it is still carefully placed on the dashboard in front of the speedometer in his car. He hands me that tiny flower whenever I ask for flowers. Wails. The scarf and pashmina are really lovely! Logen wanted to pay for that brown pashmina but I refused to let him. I told him I didn't think it would be good idea that I'd be be reminded of him whenever I put my pashmina on. Don't ask me why I'm still one of Logen's favourite girls in office. Hahahaha.
The really nice lady who went shopping with me is called Chung, the one in purple Ao Dai in one of the photos above. We took neoprints for remembrance! You should have seen how her eyes were popping out when she saw the way I shopped!
The Food in Hanoi
Like how the Chinese can't live without rice, Pho (pronounced as 'fur') is the traditional Vietnamese Noodle that the Vietnamese eat almost everyday. Pho is similar to very very fine kway teow and soup base tastes of tasty thick beef broth. The Vietnamese take loads of beef and seafood like fish and prawns were really rare.
We found this really nice and surprisingly cheap Al fresco dining area that was near our hotel on the third day. It's something like Marche but it's semi open air. Can't remember the name but I think it sounded like Nonh or something. So that was where all the locals hang out! You can get noodles, fried tofu, chee cheong fun, you tiao, and drinks, all for less than $4 per person. The chee cheong fun look-a-like thingy was stuffed with chicken, mushroom and dried shrimps. I think it was $1.80 per plate. Yummy Yummy.
Our participants brought us around on their bikes, which was again, very very kind of them! The Puppet Show was really cool but I don't have any photos of them cos the theatre was too dark.
Here's where all the shopping are!
Vietnam's First University
I almost didn't want to come home... ...!