Brief summary of these pictures:
1. I went to the “floating market” of Long Xuyen with five students of mine (all of whom I would consider friends except for that I don’t know if teachers are allowed to be friends with their students. Does it matter that I’ve only taught them once?): the floating market is a market on the Mekong River where people sell their produce. Our group bought soup for breakfast from a woman who was selling soup from her boat/dingy. (more…)
“Awplet,” I say to the lady standing behind the counter, Lonely Planet Vietnamese phrasebook in hand. “Awwwwp leeet,” I try again, enunciating a word I don’t have the slightest idea how to pronounce.
“No no,” she insists, raising her hands to her head and waving them as the Vietnamese do when saying no.
Hands waving. (more…)
I booby-trapped a hole in my wall to prevent lizards from getting in after I found two rummaging in my fruit bag.
I’m sitting in the backseat of a motorcycle marveling at what I see around me: motorcycles (or motorbikes, as the Vietnamese call them), cars, and bicycles drive on either side of the street, there are no street signs, and people run dangerously in and out of traffic. The general rule of the road, I gather, is “declare your intentions and we’ll adjust accordingly.” Adriana, the Polish girl I took a taxi with from the Ho Chi Minh City airport, was right: “If you’re crossing the road, never stop or turn back. Once you commit you just have to go.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly my first four days in Vietnam have been marked by my complete inability to understand Vietnamese. I can’t remember how to say “please” or “hello,” and I have the hardest time pronouncing thank you. Insofar as I can tell, “cam uh,” with the slightest hint of a (g) at the end of the “uh,” means thank you, but all I get in response to my attempts at courtesy are blank stares; even when I think I’ve done a good job of enunciating “cam uh(g)” my students (who at this point teach me) tell me to keep trying. (more…)