3 / ♥ Week 3, Day 5 & Day 6

23 Sept - Friday

Had physiology lecture in the morning, before sending Dr. Sujit off around noon. Followed by that was an interaction session with students from the university of Economics and Law. It was our second interaction session with Vietnamese students. 

Although the games this time round weren’t as interesting and well-coordinated as that of the first interaction session, I met really friendly and warm people. A lot of them were also from Nha Trang, which is a place we’ll be going to on Sunday. 

After this session, went back up to the room to study for the quiz that followed tomorrow morning. 

24 Sept - Saturday

Got up for quiz before an having economic class conducted by a Vietnamese lecturer. We then headed up to our room to pack for the Nha Trang trip. After that, me, Shirley, Chloe, Ham, Arvind, Shao Wei, Kat and Adeline cabbed down to Saigon square as Chloe needed to get a bag for the Nha Trang trip. Had dinner at pizza hut before going to Parkson’s for bowling. 

These two days haven’t been very  happening… looking forward to the Nha Trang trip tomorrow. Gonna have to get up at 530am! 

6 / ♥ Week 3, Day 4

22 Sept - Thursday

Had physiology lecture today morning with Dr. Ong before having a quick lunch. We had a class on the Vietnamese culture and economy after that. 

Although I did doze off during some parts of the lecture, I found it quite interesting as a whole. The teacher was so funny with all his hand motions and expressions. 

Something I realized was that punctuality was rather important to the Vietnamese lecturer. Class was supposed to start at 1:30PM, but by 1:15, most of us were already seated. The lecturer was also there but he waited outside the classroom till 1:29 before commencing the lecture. Perhaps the Vietnamese are really particular about punctuality and this is something we can learn as well.

We learnt about Vietnam’s population, population challenges, practices, beliefs and such. From his lecture, I learnt quite a lot about Vietnamese people. 

From this class, I can tell that there are some similarities between Singapore’s society and Vietnam’s society, such as in the case of upholding one’s reputation. But we can also learn (from the Vietnamese) to be more humble, less greedy, and to accept and be grateful for what we already have. 

Optimism is another thing I think Singaporeans should try and adopt. Many people I know aren’t very optimistic and very often, think about the worse possible situation without even thinking about the positive outcomes. Perhaps its how our competitive society has raised us - to think of the worse case scenario so as to prevent failure, but then again, optimism, in my opinion, is one mighty asset. I think if people were to look on the bright side from time to time, one could lead a much more happier life. 

After class, me and Shirley headed back to our room to do laundry. In the previous night, the water supply had been cut off, and hearing that there was water available for this period of time, we quickly seized the opportunity to shower and do some laundry. This shortage of water reinforced the importance and significance of water in my brain, and it has reminded me to use water wisely. 

Side note

Nat Geo’s Mission Blue: 

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/missionblue/
Save the ocean!!!

In the evening, we set off to District 3 for a drool-worthy dinner. 

Sushi for appetizers… oh god

The ice-cream man just handed us two tubs of ice cream instead of scooping them for us. Just shows how much we can eat. :P

The buffet was rather cheap in comparison to a BBQ buffet in Singapore. Not to mention, the staff were really friendly and helpful too. They stood at our table and helped us to grill the pieces of meat and such. Great service. 

Overrall, I think it was a great way to spend the last dinner meal in Vietnam with Dr. Sujit. He’ll be leaving tomorrow. Although we all wanted him to remain here with us, look on the positive side, at least we got to spend lots of time and have really epic & memorable moments with him, especially Arvind. You two are like two peas in a pod. 

0 / ♥ Week 3, Day 3

21 Sept - Wednesday

Started the morning with lecture again. Had lunch and then went back to the dorm for an afternoon nap. 

Today was the day that Dr. Ong would be joining us. Around 5+, Shirley woke me up telling me that we would be going to District 7 for dinner.

District 7 was really different from the other districts we’ve been to in the previous weeks. Dr. Sujit said that District 7 was like a “twilight zone”. True enough, the street lamps, roads, pavements, buildings and the overall environment (even the

grass), was different from the architecture of other districts. Before we entered District 7, we had a really bumpy and long taxi ride, through this deserted/ulu area. Maybe that was some kinda vortex which teleported us to some kinda atas, exclusive area in HCMC, huh? Hahaha.

Walked along a line of cafes, bistros, sushi bars and other restaurants before deciding to dine at this restaurant selling “Italian-style Japanese cuisine”. 

Interesting name for a restaurant

Shirley’s strawberry drink

Chloe’s cheese omorice

Seafood omorice with spicy tomato sauce

Xuanhao’s hugeass curry omorice, serving’s for 4 people (BEFORE)

AFTER. Xuanhao vs Egg. Xuanhao emerges as champion! *cheers*

Shaowei’s spaghetti

Dr. Sujit’s giant plate of fried rice

Arvin’s and Shirley’s steak

Magaretta pizza

Although we all had a really filling dinner considering how large the portions were, we still went to get more food. There were just too many attractive bakeries, smoothie stores, donut stores and such in the vicinity. Outside district 7, there aren’t many of such stores.

Muffins on sale at the donut shop

Arvind and his donuts

District 7 was really westernized, unlike other parts of Ho Chi Minh City. There were more foreigners living there rather than locals and I think it was more of an exclusive part of the city as there weren’t many scooters or vehicles on the road.

Today’s outing really brought me back home as it was so modernized. However, I doubt we’ll be visiting this district anytime soon as the trip there from our dorm is really long and costly (About 400,000+ Dongs for a one way trip, which is more than our usual taxi fare.) It was still an experience though, shows that Vietnam does have the capability to develop into a developed country such as Singapore.

6 / ♥ Week 3, Day 2 

20 Sept - Tuesday

Had lecture in the morning. I wanted to have some instant noodles for lunch so I didn’t place an order with the cafe. Unfortunately, the dorm was experiencing an electrical defect that day, which left us without electricity supply for the day. Thus, I couldn’t boil water to cook my noodles… how unlucky. Thankfully, there was still enough food at the cafe. Practiced volleyball whilst waiting for food and also played a few rounds with Kat, Arvind, Shao Wei, Adeline and Xuanhao. 

In the evening, we headed off to town area for dim sum. 

Broken rice with pork and pork pie

Fried tofu balls

Egg yolk bun

Char Siew buns

I forgot what this was but it’s something like siew mais

Carrot cake

Fried custard bun

Har gaw (Prawn dumplings)

Food, glorious food! I guess everyone was really happy to have dimsum/good food considering we kept ordering more and more and more and more dishes… In the end, we raked up quite a big bill. 

However, after tedious calculations done by Chloe/Shirley, we realized that the restaurant had charged us more than what we had ordered. We couldn’t demand a refund either as there was a communication problem. This just reinforced the fact that there are people out there who will cheat you. Despite being a foreigner in an unfamiliar country, all the more will locals try to take advantage of your trust and exploit it. Will have to be more careful in the future, although I think that increasing your level of alertness won’t help much. In such cases, you’d only usually realize the damage done after the incident has taken place and it’ll be difficult to reverse what has happened. 

Went off to the nearby Diamond shopping mall where I played pool for the first time in my life. 

I used to have the impression of pool being quite a slutty game (please don’t judge…), but after tonight I realized that it’s actually a really enjoyable game which teaches you to strategize smartly. Not to mention, training your accuracy. 

It was getting late so we left after staying there for two hours or so. 

Despite how tired we were, we still went over to Dr. Sujit’s room to have a movie night. We catched The Orphan which is an amazingly good movie. 

It was the last night that we could stayover at Dr. Sujit’s place as Dr. Ong would be joining us tomorrow. 

It’s kinda sad to think about Dr. Sujit leaving us in Vietnam… He has been a really good lecturer and friend, and a really cool one at that. From the priceless expressions, to his fetish for sugar-free drinks, to the several Issues, and to the concern he has shown for us not only as students but also as friends/children (haha)… I’m sure gonna miss Dr. Sujit when he leaves this Friday. However, I hope we’ll still have a fun time under the care of Dr. Ong and I believe the experience that we had with Dr. Sujit will stay etched in our memories for quite some time… Not forgetting that we have a series of Issues up on Facebook should any of us need a dose of Dr. sujit-ism. :)

6 / ♥ Week 3, Day 1

19 Sept - Monday 

Hello week 3! Time really flies when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. 

Today morning we set off for the nearby orphanage. I’ve read about orphanages in books and seen them in movies, but I’ve never been to a real orphanage before until today. 

The orphanage wasn’t what I imagined orphanages to be. It was located near a temple, and the walls of the building was painted with a cheerful shade of yellow. I had imagined orphanages to be tall, grey buildings that had a depressing feel to it, just like in some movies, but it wasn’t. 

Even the atmosphere inside the orphanage was light and cheerful. I smiled at some strangers, and each time, my smile was returned with a warm and sincere smile. 

The orphans there were really young, probably between the ages of 4~7. The personnel there said that some of the kids were left at the doorstep of the orphanage, and some of them where left there when they were infants. 

This made me think about the reasons why people abandon their children in the first place. A child is a life, an innocent and helpless one at that, and as a parent, one should take responsibility for their child, at least till they’re independent enough to survive on their own. What if the orphanage didn’t take the infant in? However, I guess there are parents out there who sincerely believe they cannot take care of a new life, and as painful as it might have been, they might have thought their child would lead a better life in the hands of another. 

Beds in the orphanage

We brought some food for the children as well.

This little boy was really adorable, but he was really shy. I think Shao Wei created quite a bond with him. The boy didn’t say a word, but when Shao Wei extended his arms towards the boy for a hug, he gladly accepted it.

He was enjoying the snacks we brought there

This little girl was affected by Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War. She’s partially blind and mentally retarded. When we offered her food, she took a sniff and threw it to the ground. Instead, she started feeling about for people, and she wanted to hug. When I carried her, she held on tightly. When I laughed, she laughed too, although she probably didn’t know what I was laughing at. When I tried to put her down, she wrapped her legs around me with greater force, holding on tightly.

I think what she wanted wasn’t food, it was company, or some affection. She was disabled, but yet she was happy to have company. It was rather depressing though, that such a young child fell victim to the aftermath of the Vietnam War that happened years ago.

We had to leave the orphanage quickly as there was a function there and we couldn’t stay. It was sad to leave the children, I wanted more time to interact with them, especially the little girl in green. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, neither did I find out what her name was…

tumblr_ldbwtn5fuB1qbirkg.gif (150×90)

But nonetheless, it was an experience I really enjoyed.

Next we headed to the post office.

On the way, we stopped by this shop selling Vietnamese bread. It was somewhat like Subway we have back in Singapore.

And it only cost 22,000 DONGS!

Near the post office was a Coffee Bean outlet, and it was drizzling, so we decided to seek shelther there before heading to the post office. At the same time, some of us got drinks.

Shao Wei’s Hot Vanilla, so fluffy like clouds!

After the rain, we made our way to the Notredam Cathedral/Post office.

Really beautiful statue.

On the way to the post office

There were these little vintage phone booths at the post office and we decided to snap a photo because we don’t get to see such things in Singapore.

There were little souvenirs such as keychains, perfume, figurines and magnets on sale.

Dr. Sujit is very intrigued by the perfumes (especially the coconut one)

The Perfume Issue (Video): http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=161284063958047

There were these mailing rooms where mails were sorted out. We don’t see this in Singapore nowadays.

Bought some souvenirs at the post office before we headed to NYDC to get cheesecake.

We bought some cheesecakes back to the dorm to have for supper later. :)

The NYDC cake Issue (video): 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=161710820582038

Tried ‘broken rice’ for the first time! There’s beef slices, egg roll and this chicken-beehoon mix thing. It’s really good, and only for 45,000 dongs.

Seems like we’ve been dining really well today.

Went to Dr. Sujit’s room in the night to have a cheesecake party and to watch a movie.

That was the day.

0 / ♥ Week 2, Day 7

18 Sept - Sunday 

Had quiz in the morning before cabbing to town. 

Decided to catch Johnny English! 

 

Bought our tickets, and during the free time before the movie, we headed to the supermarket and played some arcade games.

We all couldn’t resist the forces of yummilicious ice cream sold at the supermarket. Nom nom!

After the movie, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner! Really cheap prices yet again as compared to Singapore, with quality assured. 

Went shopping after dinner. There were some familiar brands such as Guess, ESPIRIT and Dr Martens, but most of the goods cost more than what they were in Singapore so we didn’t get anything.

Next up, was bowling. The bowling balls had a really different feel from the bowling balls in Singapore. Also, the rules in the bowling alley weren’t as strict as in Singapore. Some people weren’t wearing the bowling shoes and they were on the lane playing.

There was also really loud music (with heavy bass) playing from really huge speakers. Although I think the music didn’t fit the atmosphere of the bowling alley, the personnel probably just put that playlist on to get people into a carefree and easy mood. 

It was getting late and the mall was closing, so we hailed a cab to fetch us back to the dorm. Abraham, Shao Wei, Xuan Hao, Kat and Chloe came over to me and Shirley’s room to hang out, and we crashed after they left. 

0 / ♥ Week 2, Day 6

17 Sept - Saturday 

Headed to Mr. Minh’s place in the afternoon for a Spring Roll party. 

His house was built on a really extensive plot of land. There was a lot of open spaces and even a pond within the compounds of his place. We don’t get to see a lot of such homes in Singapore due to space constraints. 

First, we went fishing in the pond. We were given some sort of noodle substance, that looked like beehoon, to use as bait. True enough, fish came swarming up to the surface of the water to grab some food. 

Some of us, such as Ming Guang actually caught some fish. 

There were also some really nice flowers there.

(On a side note, anyone noticed Chloe’s styled hair today? So punk, I likey.)

After that, some of the Vietnamese hosts offered to teach us how to make spring rolls! I think that was the main reason why we were there in the first place. 

Spring roll filling

Every spring roll was handmade, which is why they turned out really yummy in the end I think, unlike those frozen ones sold in supermarkets. 

There was also a badminton court there, which can probably give you a rough idea on how big Mr. Minh’s place is. 

Played volleyball and ‘bonding games’ after that.

This really pretty sunset signalled that dinner time was approaching!

Arvind said that Dr. Sujit looked like a God in this photo, which inspired us to take the following shots…

Dinner was REALLY meaty. The Vietnamese hosts can really cook! They barbecued these slices of meat to perfection, not exaggerating. 

The handmade spring rolls! The triangle one proudly made by Shirley. :) 

It was getting dark, and there was only one lamppost supplying light to the entire outdoor area we were dining at. The hosts thus provided us with candles, so we had somewhat a candle-lit dinner, under the midnight blue skies which were dotted with stars (really pretty). 

Shao Wei can be a hand model. 

We started playing with the flame. Especially fearless Arvind, who touched and played with the candle flame like it was nothing. It was my first time touching a bare flame and it was awesome, didn’t hurt or sting as much as I thought it would. 

Fearless Arvind in action! *deng deng*

Dr. Sujit in near-fearless mode

After dinner, we headed to the main area once again where we played some games such as Black Magic and How many mehmeh jump over the wall, before heading back to the dorm. Was a good day! 

0 / ♥ Note regarding The Brownie Issue (mentioned a few blog posts back)

The video is too large to post on Tumblr, it’s up on facebook instead. 

Here are the links. 

The Brownie Issue Part 1: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=157696820983438 


The Brownie Issue Part 2: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=157718707647916

8 / ♥ Week 2, Day 4

15 Sept - Thursday 

Got up really early for the Mekong Delta tour. Was on the road for about 2-3 hours, thankfully the bus catered was really spacious this time round.

Reached the Mekong Delta where we boarded a boat, ready to sail the waters of the delta. The boat was also rather well furnished, the seats were comfortable and sturdy. 

The guide explained that people lived in boats like this. This was their equivalent to the homes we lived in, fully functional and all.

We reached one of the offshore islands off the Delta. It was here that I truly saw what village life was like. There weren’t concrete buildings and any type of housing was built with materials such as logs. Roofing didn’t look too stable either, unlike those in Singapore. 

I guess the main source of income for those villagers was through selling and exporting of handmade goods such as coconut candy, coconut wine, bags, etc. 

The guide gave us a brief overview on how coconut candy was made. 

Lady packaging the coconut candy

Assorted coconut candy flavours

Coconut wine and coconut soap

Next up, we walked deeper into the village. The ladies there were dressed in the traditional Vietnam costume, and they were singing along to some music played by their male counterparts. 

I guess this was another way the villagers earn money as they came forward with baskets in hand, hoping to receive some tips. 

They also offered us some fresh fruit - Jackfruit, dragonfruit and papaya. 

The villagers also had their very own bee farm, and that was how they obtained honey for sale. 

There was also a python there, which was really cool. It’s scales weren’t slimy like I expected, but instead they were leathery and smooth. 

After trying the honey drink that the villages made, we headed off to another part of the village. 

The villagers there we also making coconut candy. There was even a child helping out. 

The child looked like he was probably 7 or 8 years old, and he’s contributing to the family business. In Singapore, most kids, at 7 or 8, have the luxury of a coloured television, speedy access to the world wide web, a camera to play with, some form of a portable gaming devise, a handphone, etc. But here, the kids live simply in houses that aren’t made out of concrete, travel around wtihout the use of air-conditioned cars and spend their time with their family. 

To get back to the main area of the delta, we took a rowing boat, sailing along a narrow canal. 

I realized that in the village community, there wasn’t much of a masculinity or femininity complex. Both males and females, old and young, worked hard rowing these boats trying to earn a living. 

Back in Singapore, we don’t see the elderly doing jobs which are considered to be more labourious. I think these villagers are also very poor as they try really hard to earn money whenever they can. 

While we were sailing along the canal, some of them stretched out their palms, saying “give money, give money.”

It’s really sad to see them living in poverty and that they have to work such a physically tiring job under the blazing sun. Made me appreciate what I have in Singapore.

On the way back to the main island,  we were given coconut drinks. 

Had lunch at this restaurant at the pit-stop. 

Elephant ear fish

Some sticky rice thing inside this round ball of skin that looks like a moon *fascinating*

I thought the food served at the restaurant was really good. What tasted especially good was the rice skin. Wrap some sticky rice in that skin, add a piece of pineapple, and TADAH you get an awesome tasting popiah-like wrap.

We headed back to the dorm after 3 hours on the road. 

Played some volleyball and a game of Monkey before heading off to Lotteria for dinner. There was a homeless child there who looked rather malnourished. 

Arvin was a hero, offering his double cheeseburger to the kid. He looked so happy to have food in his hands, smelling the burger before taking a bite out of it. He was also really humble. He refused to take more food from us after we offered more to him, gesturing to us indicating that he was feeling full. 

He was kinda pitiful as we guessed he was illiterate. I think he felt a little lonely as well, from the way he played with Dr. Sujit and Arvin, tickling their tummies and all. I made funny faces at him and he mimiced me, which just caused him to burst out laughing. 

I could tell that he felt really happy simply from the way we didn’t completely shut him out and actually tried to communicate/play with him. 

I was kinda surprised (in a pleasant manner) when none of us lost anything or had anything stolen from the kid, despite having doubts about his intentions. When we left, he even shut the taxi door for us while waving “bye”, with a broad and sincere smile plastered on his face. Maybe that was his way of saying “thank you” for the food Arvin provided him with, and also the company we gave him.

This incident made me think, sometimes kids in Singapore can be so difficult to please. They want materialistic things like smart phones, a DSLR, the newest gadgets and etc, and here, a homeless kid finds joy in the company of unfamiliar but friendly people. I guess this is one difference between the lifestyles of people in a developed and a developing country. Happiness seems much more difficult to find in a place where everyone is competing for the best, rather than in a place where people are satisfied with what they have or what they can get. 

What I can learn from this kid is that we shouldn’t be greedy or take more than what we need. To look on the bright side, live positively despite how difficult things are and keep in mind that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps being kind, humble and looking at situations with a positive mindset could contribute greatly to one’s happiness. 

(A video of Dr Sujit and Arvin interacting with the child is up on facebook. Link: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=159841467435640

2 / ♥ Week 2, Day 3

14 Sept - Wednesday 

Had lecture in the morning before heading off to the nearby Cafeteria for lunch. 

We waited and waited and waited… wondering where our food was. Inside I was like, where’s the damn food!?..

Ironically, simple dishes like rice & egg arrived later than more complex dishes such as those including fish. Chloe’s drink didn’t arrive in the end as well. A lot of time was wasted there. 

After the unsatisfying lunch, we headed back to our room where I just slept my afternoon away. 

In the night, I had a Skype session with my family, including my beloved dog, Scott!

Was really happy to see them after so long. 

Studied for the upcoming quiz before heading to bed.  

1 / ♥ Week 2, Day 2 

13 Sept - Tuesday 

Headed to Vietnam University of Medicine and Pharmacy. 

There wasn’t really much to see there. 

We headed to Parkson’s mall after the short University visit. 

Chloe and her very own brand *gasps*!

Caught Shark Night with Shirley, Chloe, Kat and Arvin. The movie ticket cost 75k Dongs, which is about 4.50SGD! Dirt cheap! The cinema was also surprisingly clean and there wasn’t a funky smell like there was in some cinemas in Singapore. The sweet and salty popcorn were also really good.

We had dinner after that was at this food-court like area. 

Yummy shrimp noodles, totally Singaporean hawker center style

Today was a pretty relaxed day. Gonna have to start the engine for morning lecture tomorrow. 

Goodnight people!

2 / ♥ Week 2, Day 1

12 Sept - Monday 

Was really late today for morning lecture. Class started at 9am and Shirley and myself woke up at 9am on the dot. We washed up and got dressed in the epic timing of NINE minutes. Who says girls a take long time to get prepared for something, eh? ;) 

After morning lecture, we took a bus down to the An Dong market. Chloe, Shirley and myself walked around the mall. Sooner rather than later, we realized people were staring our way… and they were staring hard. It was because of the ripped leggings I was wearing.

Some people’s expressions were literally like:

 

if not, it was like: 

I felt so watched as I wasn’t used to people staring so long and hard at me, especially when heads literally turned to stare as I walked past. It was rather stressful as I could tell judgments were being passed at me… Inside, I was like: 

I guess that part of Vietnam we went had more of a conservative community, and they weren’t accustomed to such dressing. I should pick my outfits with greater consideration in the future.

We also tried some street food, regardless of the rumors of street food being unhygienic and such. They’re also quite cheap! 

Some fried carrot cake with egg and some sweet vegetable @ 10k dongs

Some pancake-like thing with a crusty outside filled with some sweet vegetables and some sweet coconut like thing @ 20k dongs

Next we headed to Ben Thanh market. Upon arrival, people started tapping my shoulder before saying things really fast in Vietnamese. They try really hard to sell their merchandise. Some people said that the sellers would grab you and insist on selling their things, and they won’t let you go till you’ve made a purchase. Thankfully, that didn’t happen to me and I was allowed to go whenever I turned down an offer made by sellers. 

The market was really big and it even extended to the areas just outside the enclosed building. The sellers there could also speak English, unlike those in the shopping malls we went to before. I guess they picked up the language from English-speaking tourists that visited the market before.

This kid was really cute and she had a fiery attitude trying to sell her stuff. Admirable, i like! The sad thing is that she’s only 10 and she isn’t schooling. In Singapore, most if not all kids receive education but in Vietnam, that doesnt seem to be the case as there were other kid sellers as well. 

For dinner, we headed to Pho 2000 (where they sold “Pho for the president”). 

Beef Pho

Headed to the night market after dinner. There were just two rows of stalls set up along the road sides selling soveniours like shirts, sunglasses, posters, fancy lighters and more. Speaking of lighters, Arvin got this really nice lighter with the word “Peace” on it. 

Despite having a filling dinner, we just couldn’t resist the forces of yummilicious street food. 

Look how delicious they look! Coloured rice with grains that look so soft and fluffy. Attractive. 

About to try the fluffy coloured rice puffs 

The night was still young. We hailed cabs and set of for KARAOKE! The Karaoke system in Vietnam is much more cheaper than that of Singapore, but of course, Vietnamese songs dominated the songlist, followed by English, Chinese and then Korean. The songs available were also quite old. 

After the K-session, we cabbed back to the dorm. 
It was a long, long, long day and we just crashed after washing up. 

2 / ♥ Week 1, Day 7

Slept in till 12 noon today! Woke Shirley up and left for lunch at the nearby cafe. However, they only had bread and eggs left so eventually we ordered food from outside. We had fried chicken with rice. Been a long time since we had such a meaty meal! The dog there was trying to receive some food and Dr. Sujit was being funny, pointing to me and saying, “Chicken, chicken!” 

After lunch, Shirley, Chloe and myself went for a run. We motivated ourselves by singing while running, and I must say, we attracted quite an audience from the dorm rooms, hahaha. People were probably wondering what was up with these crazy girls singing whilst running…

Headed up to Chloe’s room before dinner and we played with the webcam…

The Shag face

The flame was supposed to be on Chloe’s head. 
Irony of a water tank on fire.  

0 / ♥ Week 1, Day 6

10 Sept - Saturday 

When we were going to go shopping today, I was like: 

image

Introducing, Chau. She’s really nice and friendly and she joined us on our trip to the city today. :)

At 9am we took a cab down to Saigon Square where we begun our first ever Vietnam shopping ‘spree’! Shirley and myself got some ripped leggings at this store for 418k dongs. We walked around the area window shopping and I got myself another shirt while Shirley got herself some sunnies, platforms and a vest. 

We went to pizza hut for lunch! Each of us foot only about 60k Dongs (which is about 4SGD) for really filling meal. You don’t get that in Singapore. :o 

If any of you had noticed, there was this really attractive waiter there and we tried to “matchmake” Chau and the waiter together, which just ended with us laughing away like crazy. Lunch was enjoyable! 

Next we headed to Parkson’s shopping mall. On the way we also passed by some street stores selling interesting merchandise.

We felt that we had already spent too much money at Saigon square and so we just walked around before settling down at Highland Coffee. 

We ordered a couple of drinks and begun singing random songs. You know the moments when you think of a song and you can remember the melody but not the exact lyrics? We had lots of those moments and so we ended up humming a lot and singing bits and pieces of the songs, haha. Ming Guang joined us after a while and we sort of had somewhat a vocal training session, hahaha. 

And then there was The Brownie Issue, starring Dr. Sujit, where he claimed the brownie was healthier than our drinks because it has a lower sugar content.I’ll upload the video in the next post. :) 

As we had more time to kill, we (officially crossed what was considered to be a main road with actual traffic on it) headed to the nearby shopping center to get frozen yoghurt. We also went to the supermarket to get water and I guess we were no longer considered as foreigners as the security guard had us remove our bags and locked up in lockers. Previously, Dr. Sujit said that we have “foreigner rights” like when we could carry our bags with us into supermarkets, while locals had to leave their bags outside before entering the mart. 

Finally, we cabbed back to our dorm and hanged at Chloe’s room. We did our sensations essay and watched a chick flick before knocking out. 

0 / ♥ Week 1, Day 5

9 Sept - Friday

NO LECTURES TODAY! 

How I feel:

Got up reeeeeeeeeeal early to get to the Cu Chi tunnels. Got ready for war with insects by applying insect repellent, insect spray from Dr. Sujit and an insect repellent patch from Jocelin. Watched a really uninteresting video whereby I dozed off for a bit, and then we were led around the area by a tour guide. 

There were lots of torture mechanisms that the guerillas built for defense. They must have been quite smart but kinda sadistic too. All of their defense mechanisms were made to give the victim a slow, torturous death.

But I guess they made their traps as such as the Americans were really harsh on them, and they had to come up with an efficient and effective way to protect themselves. 

We then entered the actual tunnel itself. It was really dark and tiny. Despite my fear of darkness, the tunnel experience was actually fun! I would do it again. There was even a slope inside the tunnel whereby the most efficient way for you to move would be to sit on your butt and slide your body. 

Lunch was on this wooden ship-like structure floating on the lake. There was chicken, fish, egg, spring rolls, this funky soup and vegetables. I forgot to take photos of the dishes and by the time I thought about it everyone had already dug into the food. 

After lunch we travelled another hour or so to the War Remnants Museum. Spent about 45 minutes there. All the photos of the war/Agent Orange victims really makes me wonder why people start wars in the first place.

What do people actually gain out of war, anyways? There are people in the world starving to death, contracting diseases due to poor sanitation and living standards and yet, money is put into funding a war, but money isn’t invested into helping these people? Why didn’t people give peace a chance in all that 19 years of war between the Americans and Vietnamese? Why wait 19 years before putting an end to the Vietnam war? 

 

When I was a child, 
I spoke as a child, 
I understood as a child, 
I thought as a child, 
But when I became a man, 
I put away children things 

This caught my attention. It’s really sad. :’( 

After the museum, we headed back to the dorm to have dinner at the nearby cafe. 2 really lovely dogs lived there, which made me think of my own dog, Scott. 

Me and Shirley ran in the rain back to the dorms and here we are working on our journal entries. That’s it for the day. More tomorrow!