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Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Where I stayed
Tung Shing Halong Pearl Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  , Quảng Ninh,
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh my, I just looked at the cool Travelpod map. I am so close to China. That explains why there are so many Chinese visitors in Bai Chay. And, alot of the food seems familiar. I am finding dishes not unlike some of the Chinese food we eat in the US. Off course there is Pho everywhere, the delicately flavored rcie noodle soup which Vietnam is known for, and seafood of every type fresh from Halong Bay. I must take a minute to tell you how much I am enjoying the Vietnamese people, food and landscape.

Lonely Planet dis's the towns along the bay. I think Hong Gai is lovely and charming! There is not so much car traffic and there are still many bicycles along with the scooters. Everyone drives slowly and carefully. There are large flower and decorative arrangements in the street medians, and the buildings are architecturally interesting. The bustling 'real city" of Hong Gai is very exotic. The culture here is so different from Thailand, as is the language. But the people are very friendly and helpful. Mostly, I have found that when someone speaks to you, they do not have an ulterior motive. Rather, they are genuinely curious to learn about life in other places. I am sorry that I can't speak Vietnamese, but I can't. That's an unavoidable fact.

Today I came from Bai Chay by taxi to the Indochina Junk Company office in Hong Gai near the boat docks. Tuyen and I worked on planning the next few days. We emailed our ideas for a poster about the VVV OLPC Laptop Project and for a Certificate to give the Teachers after the teacher training, to Nguyet and her IT team in Hanoi to work on for us. I can't believe what they came up with on such short notice.  Thank you Nguyet! Gangsters, I will post the files on the VVV Project page in the OLPC Wiki asap so that others can use them for ideas!

Then I went off to explore Hong Gai for the afternoon. I needed to find some power strips to buy, along with a few other things. In the Hong Gai market I met a lovely couple, Peter and Ty from Hong Gai and Vancouver, BC. Because Peter spoke English to me, I asked him if he happened to know anyone in town who has knowledge about solar power. He told me that he was probably the only person in this city of about 1,000,000 people that knows solar power! Vietnam has alot of sun, and now, for about 2 years there is one company in Ho Chi Minh City manufacturing panels, but not many people know so much about it. He invited me to his home to see the solar power system he built. He brought his panels to Vietnam from Canada.

Wow! An invitation to a foreigner to visit a local home is unusual and is a treasure when traveling. Tuyen and I had a lovely visit with Peter and Ty and Ty's beautiful mother too. Now we have both seen a solar power electric system that really does work. Peter was so generous to volunteer to help our Project. Our Vietnam Power team is in place now. And the power issue is what I was worried most about. Peter will join us tomorrow to see the sunny village school. Sometimes things happen that just can't be explained. Meeting Peter and Ty, well, The Vung Vieng Fishing Village Laptop Project is just meant to be!

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