I am back and time to reflect, this is my last post on this blog

If you are reading this Thank you for taking the time to invest in my journey. I had a few rough days (couldn’t sleep) since I got back and really wanted to let the experience sink in.

What i have learnt

  1. i cant spell, thank you mom for making me realize that I really should speellll check allllll of mmmmyyyy work
  2. I still cant take a selfie
  3. desert before dinner is okay in my book!
  4. I missed my family, my bed

What my experience was

  1. It was great to meet with so many amazing people in Vietnam and enjoy the country
  2. soup is for breakfast
  3. sidewalks are roadways

What advice i would give for someone wanting to do a program like this

  1. be flexible, my mandate and my final product are a guideline
  2. understand in Vietnam things are not the same pace here, you need to develop trust
  3. bring gifts as a show of appreciation
  4. me prepared to accept hospitality like you have never seen before
  5. don’t be surprised if strangers want to talk to you, still be safe but know that most only want to talk to you
  6. be challenged and come back better
  7. try different foods, like the picture below, it was out of my comfort zone
try different things

A whole new world

Last night went to another district P Tan Phong and it was weird. Its like nothing i have seen in the area, there are cars and really few motor cycles. Incredible wealth in this area

lights on the bridge

It was unnerving not having to avoid motor cycles

It was like xmas in June, my photo skills suck, but that is reindeer above the store

this really brought the boom

I should take a picture every time i eat this, chocolate pastry , with chocolate inside, with chocolate drizzle and cocoa powder. I was feeling like i needed some calcium

Mekong Delta

This was one tour i was excited to see, i have to say some points were amazing and others just okay. I found an amazing tour guide under get your guide and had an amazing time because of them. Had the option for a smaller bus that cost more but picked us up in a 7 seater with massage chairs, well worth it

first stop was getting a hat, and i got, you pay more big head. in the end it was 45000 dong or $3

First part after 1.5 hour comfortable drive, note the roads have some serious bumps so the ride was comfortable but be prepared for a bumpy car ride in spots

first stop unicorn island

This was great saw lots of great things tried loganberries and had fresh fruit and listened to local sing, first time a tip jar was passed around

second stop

They took us to a place that you could stick your finger in and get fresh bees, after i wondered how many other fingers went in there?

Fresh honey tea

Didnt care for this at all, and the bees kept drowning in it, half the time was using the small spoon to save the bees

cocoa for chocolate

this place was great and had samples and got some money out of me

so behind the place for chocolate is this

This is where it gets weird, you have a tour guide that will pick up a python, for us thankfully it was shedding and you dont handle them. I would have done it but really this person is not trained as well as you would have wanted for the size of the snake

felt sorry for the horse

after the chocolate went on a horse drawn ride, it earned its food that day!

who is steering this thing

I felt like i was on a ride at an amusement park, the amount of traffic was crazy but how the two people and all the other people were guiding this thing was amazing. If you do this tip, that is how they make a living 20000 dong each person is what i was told

lunch

dont know what it was other than fish, it was good

still a hard no
hair inspiration

i was wondering why people kept rubbing my belly and smiling now i know!

neon

seeing the monks preparing a meal and seeing where they pray was an experience

The weekend, kinda

Today was Saturday and I was in the office. Not because i love to work, it is more that it is the culture to work on Saturdays. So i went in for half a day just in case my boss reads my blog and i set expectations that i want to work Saturdays! After work though I explored again

thankful i brought a buff

The one great thing i brought was a buff, as you can see this rough is as shiny as my head. Its plastic, the roof not my head. My head stuck to it first time. Not anymore, just a sore neck after the car ride

Ben Thanh Market

This was my FOMO moment, let me tell you that everyone is so aggressive, you want to buy this, hey i have your size in this, you like my coffee, it was a great thing i get to see and something that wasn’t that exciting for me. Now the people who make there living i get the hustle, for me i just wasnt ready for it and had different expectations of the area.

backpacker alley

I am fortunate i am away from the tourists, and the funny thing is the tourists are the least friendly, its weird. For me this was the ever 2 minutes want a massage. My wife gave me two rules and that was one of them, no massages , for many reasons!

That is my happy ending for the market and backpack alley

I do work as well

So my mandate is to look at the marketing plan of the college and of one specific program. From here i have expanded to look at brand consistency and how they are presenting themselves. It has been interesting as some of the programs that will never have problems dont need attention and the program that needs the attention the demand for it has changed.

tried jack fruit

Tried a new fruit and it tasted like cantalope but less water in.

watch your head

yep there are a couple spots you need to duck around here, most people here dont feel my pain

it works

i didn’t realize that if you have a two prong electrical plug, this outlet plugs in, visualize no circles, it fits two types of chords

smell pretty

I went to shoppers to get some new scents and they had lots of samples, it was the greatest idea ever , and i love free samples, i am talking about you costco!

didnt make the journey

Here is my trying something new for you the viewer, you are welcome! This weekend is Meikong delta and a market and trying Durian fruit

Day 2 Halong Bay

after having the option to sleep in or get up at 4am and walk 30 minutes in the dark after seeing snakes, I slept in! Tour the village and others went for bike rides. Breakfast was a crepe and bananas

it was extra hot in the bay, I thought I was use to it, nope

Time to get back on the boat!

This is how I role when I travel. It was cool because to and from you travel through a hill that has been dug out enough to fit one of these in it, I thought I was in universal and Jurassic park ride feeling

The coolest part of this day was finding a spot to go kayak

this is my buddy from Ottawa gee gees football, I was asking him how they did against Guelph last year?

This was the coolest experience, worst two partners ever as two people trying to use strength in a finesse game, had a blast though with Darrien chatting and we got lost and we were suppose to be gone for 60 minutes, well we took 100 minutes cause we found some cool caves that you could go under. It was worth it for that

and to think this wasn’t the coolest cave we went in, this one had bats though

First week concluded, first weekend to begin

I am fortunate that Uniterra is such a strong organization that the Leave for Change Program is under. One of my past colleagues at the University of Guelph has found his passion and is a long term volunteer for the program and I got to visit him and explore this weekend

first step

So the first step is getting transportation to the airport, either taxi or ride apps, we use GRAB, yep that’s it name and fitting as most people are holding on the back of a motor bike. The cost to the airport was about $10. From there we check in security and wait around. This was the first surprise. I have learnt that the airline we took is notoriously late. They delayed flight by an hour. Then you get in line, to get in line to go down a tunnel to wait for a bus, this is that picture. We then finally took off and landed from Saigon to Hanoi in 2 hours. The next challenge is GRAB drivers don’t want to go into the airport as they have to pay 10,000 dong about .50 Canadian toll, so it took way to long to find a ride and when we did it was 35 minutes and it was $20 Canadian. If we would have told the driver to pay for the toll I think he would have came in. We also noticed unregistered cars trying to get our fare and we were advised against doing that.

Quinn in the yellow shirt, a giant in his home country! The first stage is getting on a bus that takes about 2 hours to get to a boat that takes 10 minutes to get on a bus that takes 30 minutes to then get on a boot that takes 2 hours. Yep you read all of that correct

no charge

If you are in the major areas they will charge you 5000 dong or about .33 cents to use the washroom, this was after the first boat ride before the next bus ride, and I am thankful that I can stand up to pee.

Welcome aboard the S.S. Minnow

The boat had two levels, one for eating and another for lounging, except if you are a vegetarian you had to eat upstairs, which I kinda was

new try for me Lychee, amazing, tastes like chicken? Not really they are like an orange and an apple and a strawberry
the views

I have to say that in Canada we have spectacular views, here though it was breathtaking. The water is look bath water, except the salt stings the eyes and if you drink it, that sucks for you!

Hard No

At our homestay in a little village, they had asked who wants to try this. For me, walking back to my room, stop pause, where did the snakes come from, walk back, find the answer, flash light on the whole way and check under my bed. Not the best night sleep

How to capture it all?

I figured when I started this is to show what I am doing. Well I am definitely doing a lot more than eating! So to get a glimpse of my day. This is my new format

  1. try something different. I wanted to be vegetarian this trip but will make some exceptions, see below
  2. Show the challenges, I have bumped my head, crunched my legs and barely gotten into taxis, no way I am getting on the back of a motorcycle, but let me show you the joys of being over 6 feet
  3. show the school and what I am doing
  4. Show a place or thing that made me to HMMMMMMM, that is not food, unless it is a donut as that is something I make exceptions for!

I tired frog legs! I get why people say it tastes like chicken, or chicken tastes like frogs? Glad I tried wont rush back to do it. I had a hop in my step the rest of the day

Hairy legs

Yes I know, I have hairy legs, it migrated from my head. This is me in the washroom and my legs will never be the same. Don’t worry I have shorts on when I took this picture, or do I?

tour of one of many kitchens

This is us getting a tour of one of many facilities, its amazing and I will show you some flare and what is flare. I have heard from the south that they make the best pho and from the north that they do, the chef is from the north, it was amazing, I wont get involved in this debate.

which wire should they cut

Its amazing I never realized the wires, and on top of it there was a switch on some poles on and off, I just kept walking

Touring the main area

Thomas in red, Micheal in the middle also volunteering at the college and all of us flashing the number 2

Today was great, we had a guide that was suggested from the college that took us around. What I found amazing is the pride of the people of Vietnam. Thomas our guide person in the red was so proud of where the country was and is now. We toured the post office, got to see where the president was located at one time and other great things around the city

Inside the post office
Inside the palace, price of admission was about 40,000 dong and its about 16000 = 1 cad
Turtle pond, that I thought had street food and it does after dark, oops

I have decided every meal will be vegetarian, this one was tough as it is broken rice and the bbq smelled so good. The yellow plate of bamboo was not for me but the pickled vegetables and rice with some chilies was great. I bought lunch for my guide and myself and was 80,000 dong , so about 5 bucks.

I need to take a picture of me in a car as it looks like a clown in it, more so than normal, my head is lodged on the roof, and front seat or back seat all suck for me

This place is amazing except low spots

Got lost this morning and went down some back alleys, found a market a few blocks away and lots of street food, didn’t bring any money so that was a fail, will go back in next few days

Amazing lunch from the students at the college. I have decided to go as must vegetarian this trip

So 6 foot 2 and the doorway is 5 foot 5, I have found that going to the washroom I need to duck more often and some cafes have these closets that I can barely fit in. The heat was a huge part today.

What I am missing from this blog is tips so and notes for me to improve

  1. I will try to say how much stuff is when I purchase it to give you the reader a reference
  2. tip is watch the sim card you get as bought one that the number wouldn’t recognize the app GRAB that you need for taxis, 250,000 mistake or about 20 bucks