Xin chao, Posties! That's hello for those of you who don't speak Vietnamese, which I am now fluent in after spending six days in Vietnam with the web editor, Leon. I'm glad that Guyito made sure the office didn't fall apart while I was away. Also that he didn't eat all my snacks.
Anyhow, I can now scratch another country off my 'visited' list. I think I'm up to 15 countries now. Let me check my passport; Greece, Italy, South Africa, England, France, Spain, the North Pole, Sri Lanka, Thailand (twice), Vietnam, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand, the mainland, India ...
I had so many spring rolls in Vietnam I thought my little puppy stomach was going to burst. But it wasn't all food and games: I was there to work. Leon and I went to Hanoi and Kon Tum province with Unicef and their band of enthusiastic Young Envoys to see the living conditions of some less fortunate children in some really remote villages.
Despite not having all the gadgets and toys that HK youngsters have, they still welcomed us with bright smiles and songs. Being the gracious visitor that I was, I of course returned a song of my own. However, I'm not sure if they really understood my Vietnamese interpretation of Who Let The Dogs Out. So basically I just ended up, well, barking along. People were, erm, surprised, shall we say.
We had to endure heavy rains, long car rides and early mornings to get to some of the villages. But it didn't bother me too much as I just napped on Leon's shoulder the whole time. We visited a hospital, met a traditional midwife and went into the homes of some local villagers. I got to ride on a motor scooter (with a helmet when we were moving, of course) and saw beautiful green rice paddies pass us by. We even caught a performance of the world-famous Vietnamese water puppet show.
And if you thought the minibus drivers in Hong Kong were crazy, the drivers in Kon Tum were definitely something else. Since the roads there are smaller and they don't really have traffic lights, they use their car horns to warn other drivers of dangers on the road. Our driver seemed to really enjoy honking his. In a period of 45 minutes, he honked his horn 568 times! That should get him some sort of medal.
I made so many friends on this trip. They were so nice to make sure I was included in every meal and every picture. But while the country life was beautiful and relaxing, I did miss the bright lights, energy and especially the street food of the 852.
So there you have it!