December 31st, 2016

First day of school

Hue to Danang to Hoi An = a whole lot of learning (and time on a bus)

From Mom:

"You cannot kiss on the streets, but you can piss on the streets," said our guide
We did not test his assertion, but we did learn that Vietnamese body language is different from American body language. This was not a revelation, as body language is largely cultural. Good to know, though, that you should never pass someone just one toothpick, as passing a sharp object is likely to be taken as incitement to rumble. Instead, you should pass the entire box. Remember this if you are ever in Vietnam and your guide has spinach stuck in his teeth.

"You don't eat meat? I'll make lamb?"
We got the vegetarian meal for lunch, specifying no fish, no pork, no meat. The soup had many nice, rosy shrimp. The poor waiter kept insisting that shrimp didn't count as fish. Apparently, they don't here. News to me.

Back to the trip, we journeyed past great swaths of rice paddies, farmed by hand, largely by women in conical straw hats. We drove up a mountain, through gorgeous scenery, into Danang. It's a booming town, totally unlike what we've seen in the rest of the country, with luxurious golf courses, hotels, and resorts. You'd never know Vietnam is a Communist country from Danang.

Fast facts.
1. China Beach is called Danang Beach because Vietnam doesn't want the association with China, which is odd because they have very close ties with China.
2. A hugely popular product in Vietnam is eucalyptus oil, a magical cure-all, so I figured I'd get some for everyone. Great packaging, but it smells like turpentine. Thus, not coming home.
3. About 15 people on this trip are Jewish. One of them ( not me, for a change) asked, "How many Jewish people are in Vietnam?" Our guide looked around and replied, "About 15."
First day of school

A rainy day in Hoi An

It was pouring today, but that didn't stop our adventures! We started with a Trishaw ride around the city, and then took a (very wet) walking tour including the Japanese bridge and historical houses. We had lunch and shopped our way back to the hotel. We have a New Year's party tonight and we're flying to Halong tomorrow.

First day of school

New Year resolutions

I figured I'd post this now because it will be crazy later and tomorrow:

Last year’s resolutions:
1. Travel 5 new places (inside or outside of the US) – It was an exciting year for traveling outside of the country!
a. Israel
b. Australia
c. Vietnam
d. Cambodia
e. Kennett Square, PA (The mushroom capital of the world!)
2. Try or learn 5 new things
a. I rode on a Segway (and loved it!)
b. I performed my first wedding
c. I went to the longest yard sale in NC (which was a bust)
d. I ate kangaroo! (tasted like steak)
e. I started my doctorate program (so much reading!)
3. Lose 25 pounds and keep it off
a. I actually lost 10 pounds throughout the year and kept it off. Not a bad start.

This year’s resolutions:
1.Travel 5 new places (inside or outside of the US)
2. Try or learn 5 new things
3. Pass my comps in September
4. Lost 25 pounds and keep it off