Thursday, January 12, 2006

Vietnam OEP 2006 Part I: Flight Plan

[Quote of the post] "Many receive advice; only the wise profit from it."
[Song of the post] I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane - John Denver

OEP Vietnam 2006 is over. Already. One week. Eight days. All gone in a flash. It didn't seem long enough. Now I'm blogging about it. There'll be about eight posts, so don't espect to see all of them in one day. There may be some parts I blacked out; that's because it's censored or not everyone is meant to see it.

Yay, so let's start, shall we?

12th January 2006
We arrived at the airport at around 1245, 2 hours before our scheduled flight. Nothing much to say here, except that my dad talked to Juzzie a lot. Oh, yeah, and the radio in the car played "If", a wonderful song by Bread. This is relatively important; it will, coincidentally, appear again later.

Well, on the plane I was sitting with Kyle on my left and and asile and Xi Min on my right. Incidentally, Kyle brought the entire Ender saga to Vietnam and was reading it at every available moment. So anyways, it was basically 1 1/2 hours of Pokemon Leaf Green for the entire flight. The pasta was kinda nice, but airplane food just cannot compare.

We reached Ho Chi Minh City Airport at about 1745. Then we left for the Amara hotel. It's a 4-star place with nice furnishings, good food but the rooms are just too cold. When I was rooming with KW there in a later part of the trip, we turned the thermostat to twenty-eight, put it on "Low", wore three layers and even turned it off. And it still was cold.

Anyways, after that we went on a riverboat for dinner. During dinner there was live entertainment, and there were performers and singers singing a mixture of English oldies, Chinese songs and Vietnamese pop. Then, when our steamboat arrived (see Vietnamese food, below), the lady started singing Jambalaya. It's this old country song from the '60s, '70s. So I started singing it (they were mostly oldies that most people 'cides Juzzie don't know). Thing is, I was sitting at the end of the table closest to the performers; the tables were long and running parallel to the deck of the ship. So the lady came up to me and put the mike at my mouth. She helped me through the chorus a bit, since I didn't know it that well. Then when the song ended she came over to our table and chatted a bit, and helped us with our steamboat (not eat it, helped us put the food in, regulate the time and stuff like that). And she was very nice; when I said thank you to her in Vietnamese, she smiled and said, "You speak Vietnamese!" and laughed.

Well, after that I had no peace. I was wearing my white cap almost 24/7, and so I stuck out from the crowd. Add that to the singing, and that sealed it. Later that night, when Mr Lim, overall in cahrge of the whole OEP, came by to check on our rooms to see if we were sleeping, his parting words were, "Nice singing just now." o_O

Anyway, after the food we went for a short cruise up and down the Mekong River. Oh, everything in Vietnam is Vina. Taxis are called Vinataxis, ships are Vinaships, yoghurt is called Vinamilk, and there's a travel agency called VinaSun Travels.

At night is usually debrief, meaning that we discuss the day's events and about the worksheets we're supposed to complete, so I usually won't log them except if there's something really interesting. And we're supposed to write reflections every night. I'm not posting them here either. My first reflections started out, "This isn't reflections. This is blogging without the Internet." And I think they're too angsty to write here. But there'll be some topics I'll be discussing.

And that's it for Day 1!

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