Relaxing weekend...

Trip Start Jul 27, 2007
Trip End Jul 29, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hello all,

Firstly I'm going to apologise for the fact that there will be no photos on this entry (or maybe you'll be glad you don't have to put up with my ongoing attempts to be good!) Our computer has a virus which copies loads of folders onto your memory card so I'm not plugging in my camera til it's fixed!

It's a bit of a shame cause I have various photos of Vicki and Martin's many leaving parties this week. We did the rounds of all our placements, and they got copious amounts of leaving presents, cake and goodbye coffee. It made for a crazy week as people were dropping by the house at lunchtime or in the evening to say an extra goodbye. As they are backpacking a lot of their gifts got left here, so the house has aquired some chintzy tourist memories of Vietnam, a jar of molassas/treacle types stuff (which we were fed with chopsticks!) and a bag of sugar, which I had to bin as the ants found it. Apparently sugar is a Quang Ngai speciality so it's not quite as strange a gift as it sounds!

Of course we also went to the ubiquitous Kareoke on Wednesday night, I tried to sing Away in a Manger in memory of all those nativity plays, but it was a strange pop version with a different tune so I didn't manage it.

On the last day we went to the orphanage and  played loads of  party games with the children, which Vicki and Martin had prepared. They were really good at taking turns (we were pleasantly surprised as they tend to swamp you if you come in with anything new!) We played things like pass the parcel and a tombola/lucky dip and they went down well! I felt quite sad seeing them say goodbye to all the children, so goodness knows what I'll be like when I go.

On Friday we were invited to have lunch with the children again. They had a special meal as it was Vietnamese independence day on Saturday (celebrating the anniversary of 2nd September 1945, when Ho Chi Minh forced out the French, or so I was told)

Unfortunately this special meal is one of the few times a year they get meat. Proper meat. Proper bits of bone with flesh on it meat. Vicki and I got both translators to explian we didn't eat it, but still got a large spoonful of pork broth on our noodles (the pork was then fished out in deference to our wierd Western ways). I ate most of it to be polite but that night I lay in bed trying to decide whether my stomach felt any different. I'm sure it's all psychological but I felt a bit strange!
The children also got fizzy drinks, which were poured into metal buckets and then scooped out in bowls and cups. They must have been high as kites in the afternoon after all that sugar! I was just hoping the buckets were special food ones and not the same ones they use for cleaning the floor...

After that, the weekend was very tame. For various complex reasons I was was meant to start my SCUBA diving course, but didn't (next weekend!). I vaguely tried to organise something else fun to do, but everything is busy or closed with the public holiday so I spent most of the time in the Da Nang house (GVN headquarters!) or on the beach with the new lot of volunteers.

My exciting highlights were picking up the clothes I had made, (I have a beautiful bottle green silk dress) and having a massage (I may be getting a bit addicted to these). It was an adventure getting there as I just got the cook at Da Nang house to send me somewhere but the driver seemed to get a bit lost. I was kind of worried, as I have heard about other volunteers accidently ending up with a 'speical' massage, without realising that's what they'd signed up for, but I kept my pants on throughout so I'm sure it was fine...

Before my massuese came in, I was lying on the bed wondering what the bar on the ceiling was for, I soon found out; it was for her to hang off while she was walking up and down my back. I don't know if you've ever had anyone crack your spine with their big toes, but it's an pleasurable (if slightly bizzarre) experience.

The other nice thing we did was visit an acoustic bar I'd heard a lot about from the other volunteers. Unfortunately it was closing down so I won't get to go again. The singers had the most amazing voices and the whole atmosphere was very relaxed. It was candlelit so I didn't take any pictures, but I might try and steal someone else's off Facebook...

I'm back  in Quang Ngai now and this week will be a showing the new volunteers around week. Some of our placements have changed as the children are all back at school now so it will hopefully be a relaxing, settling in sort of week. This afternoon I am going to buy a cooker for the medical centre we visit, as they desperately need one and hopefully, finally take Little Phuc to the dentist. Watch this space!

Hope everyone at home is fine, and the teachers among you are ready for the new school year!
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