A bit of a delay with getting a post up… with our 24 travel day yesterday, the time difference and some internet difficulties… but here goes!
Our flight from Korea to Ho Chi Minh felt super long but was otherwise good. The crew at Asiana airlines definitely know how to take care of their customers. There was no indoor airport lobby when we landed, like you would find in a Canadian airport – instead there is a big compound outside the airport with chairs and meeting spots for everyone. Immediately, we felt the warmth and humidity of the city and saw palm trees on the street boulevards. It was 28 degrees when we left the airport at 11:30pm – we are both happy to have found some heat! We went to bed as soon as we got to the hotel and had a pretty good sleep in our cute little room.
This morning we had a bit of time of time before we left for our school tours so we explored the area around our hotel a bit. Traffic here is indescribable – nothing in Calgary even compares. We took a video of all the motor bikes/scooters coming down the street, which we’ll try to post later – here’s a picture in the meantime!
Tap water isn’t drinkable here so we stopped by the corner store to buy some bottled water for 0.50 cents! The same convenience store sells individual chilled bottles of Budwiser for 1.50… for real!
The first school we visited was a private school in a newer, wealthier part of Ho Chi Minh. The school was 8 stories high and was a great new facility. The part we visited was built 5 years ago and they are finishing up another section that will be ready for next year. The staff were incredibly welcoming and proud to show us around their tour. The students were very excited to have visitors at their school and happily showed us what they were learning. Anytime we went into a classroom, the whole class stood up and said good morning to us. It was definitely a great first school visit!
We had a great Vietnamese lunch with members of an organization who are working to improve reading and literacy amongst children here. Then we were off to a meeting with an organization in charge of helping with teacher training and goals for the future of Vietnamese education. For instance, one of their current goals is to implement a full day, mandatory kindergarten program (which is optional for families right now).
We had a free evening so we went to a hair salon for a hair wash (or “washy washy” as I like to call it!). This was my favorite thing from China and will definitely be something we do again. The lovely ladies massaged my scalp, shoulders, arms and hands before taking me to the back to actually wash my hair. They have massage tables you lie in, with your head in a sink, and they proceed to wash your hair for more than half an hour… so relaxing! The dry and style it afterwards – such lovely pampering (and all for the bargain price of $10).
We wandered around the city a bit more searching for a place to eat and ending up opting for some Pho – I got my usual vermicelli bowl. It was SO good and another $10 bargain. Now I’m full, tired and hoping to get a good sleep tonight. We are watching the Disney channel because it’s the only TV we can find in English – so we will finish Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (with Vietnamese subtitles) and then call it a night….xo