Some days are tough!

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

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Flag of Vietnam  , Quảng Ninh,
Friday, October 30, 2009

Today was a rough day. My hosts are concerned that I am spending too much money for lodging and especially, for the taxi to/from Bay Chay to Hong Gai. Tuyen suggested that we look for a cheaper hotel closer to the Indochina Junk office and port. We looked at a hotel and I chose a room even though I felt that it was iffy, and checked in. I felt that Tuyen needed to put in a normal work day. I had a list of things I hoped to accomplish. I found the power strips I needed for the teacher training that I expected to begin in town with reliable electricity. But in Hong Gai, without language skills, finding lunch was a challenge. I like the food and I know how to say "ahn chay,""vegetarian," but it is harder to know which of the "restaurants" have clean, properly stored food. And if I get sick from not taking proper care, I will not be able to do what needs to be done in the next few days. Lunch was 2 croissants and a cream caramel (for protein) from a french bakery, and a banana on the street:). What will happen at dinner time and tomorrow morning at breakfast? I began to re-think the change of location.

I spent a few hours backing up photos to a DVD, making prints, and buying some frames to give with the photos as gifts. I chose a simple wooden frame about the size of our 5x7 frames. It cost 17,000 VN Dong. 18,000 Dong is about $1.00 US. How can they make them that cheap and pay pay for materials and labor?  I bought several. The photos from the Ceremony Day are great.

I will mention for fellow travelers, how important it is to back up your photos regularly during your trip. Cameras can be stolen. In 2007, my friend, Frank inadvertently left his camera in a taxi in Vietnam and all of his elephant camp photos were lost! I back up to DVDs. Then I can use the DVD in a net cafe to upload photos to the blog and not risk losing the camera card.

Tuyen called and told me that the teachers were not coming to do the teacher training on the mainland. (We were running into some politics and, I had wanted to do the teacher training before bringing the laptops to VVV but the ceremony had been planned and I needed to give in on that point.) Ouch! I said, "ok, then when can I go back to the village to teach the teachers how to use the XO." I am not leaving the XOs out there until the teachers know how to start and stop activities and to shut down the laptops properly.

It was very hot and when I returned to the new hotel at about 5:00PM, I decided that the Hong Gai City Bay Hotel was not a good fit for me. I just did not feel safe or comfortable there. Tuyen felt worse when he realized I would pay for the night even if I left, and pay for the Halong Pearl where I would return also. I explained that I planned on the expenses of my lodging and transportation, no problem. I was happy to get back to the Halong Pearl, where the staff speaks a little English, and are very warm and welcoming, and where I could take a shower and have free wireless internet (when working) and a good breakfast, all for $40. The Pearl was so accommodating, and they had given me a really good rate. I was pleased to see that I can make good decisions when need be, and I felt ready for the next day with whatever challenges I might face, to move the project forward.
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