My Licence has come!

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

09:40 Todays general musing will be pondering the question I was asked "When you were planning your trip, how on earth did you decide were and what to do?" which is a very good question, and one I asked my sister before I left as she's already done all this travelling malarky, twice, and I was actually a bit worried about this! 
My new philosophy on life, after having my life pretty much planned out, and it blowing up completely, is that clearly there is no point in planning anything. This actually made my trip easier. I've grown up in a house where a person should probably have at least plan A, B and C, sorry, but slightly pointless. If you make plans you're likely to be disappointed, you may set your heart on something and then it not happen. Who wants to be disappointed all their life? But I do admit that without even a vague idea, we'll get nowhere and fanny about not doing anything.

I went I to STA travel with a very vague idea that I wanted to come to south east Asia, but it might be nice to somehow incorporate some other places in. They suggested the route through Russia and china with a stop off in Japan, I loved the idea.
The Russian and china trips were tours o course so I had no control. But everything from Hong Kong onwards has been my own pace, and mine to make what I will with the days. I know I am travelling Vietnam north to south for example. I knew I was travelling from hong kong to Hanoi, but what I'd do when I got to Hanoi, I had no idea. I arrived, I looked in my book and thought ok, so I'll go see some museums. The hotel offered trips out west and north, I thought, good idea. Basically, as I arrive in places, and opportunities present themselves whether it be an activity or a trip to somewhere nearby, I just decide right there to go or not to go. My route through the country is dictated by transport, the sleeper buses go a particular way, but mostly service all touristy towns and cities. Often when you arrive at a place you cam look in the book at what's about, or find a local motorbike tour is normally quite cost efficient. Things always present themselves. so you see there is no plan, I just wander fairly aimlessly where things take me and find what's there.

This morning I taught the class again, of 24...on my own!! (as the Vietnamese teacher did not turn up). This was ok because I did more of what we did yesterday - me reading aloud, them writing it down, then me listening to them read it back one by one to correct them on any pronunciation errors - normally the all important loss of the last key letter of a word. I enjoyed this class a lot and I think they enjoyed it too, and I got a photo of them all at the end. Everyone wanted me to stay, saying I'm a good teacher helping them break down words to pronounce them more easily. I'm glad they thought I was useful and I hope I've made a little bit of a difference for them.

Straight after the class I walked down to the bus station as I needed to arrange a ticket alteration to take me directly to Mui Ne. I've decided that it's time to go, and now that my diving licence has arrived, I can collect it and go. On the way back to the hotel, I was approached by another Easy Rider, there are so many of them around, I just said what I've said to all the others - I've been, but thanks. We actually got talking as his English was so good and we ended up going for coffee and a chat, we were there for 4 hours! It was fantastic ice coffee, and a fascinating chat. This guy was 60, has a family, and remember the American soldiers being here all those years ago on their weekends off. He's been teaching himself English for years from books and TV, as he thinks that he can't always be an easy rider, but his understanding of the grammatical points of English is astonishing. I know nothing of grammer, I don't know what a past participle is, an adjective etc. I always remember what a verb is, because all we seemed to do at school was learn verbs and all the different I, he, she, them.... ways they ended. As for how and why our sentences are constructed the way they are, I'm in the dark, so it was fascinating to listen to him breaking down certain words into groups. It's given me more of an interest to learn english as a foreign language now as well. 

After the long chat I went back to the Diving School and there it was....the much prized Diving Licence. I feel like James Bond now, I can drive, ride a motorbike, fly a plane and now dive. I can even shoot guns very accurately, abseil, ski, and even get 3 passports probably if I put my mind to it. Anyway, look at my shiny licence, apparently I've done more complex practical exercises than anyone who ever did PADI did, so for all those "What's NDL? PADI is the one to do" I disagree....PADI is like McDonalds, and costs about 100 more to do, just because it's PADI. I still learnt everything plus much more than any PADI diver, and I had an Excellent teacher. I won't ever forget the very lovely Max (Maksim Selivanov) for just making the whole thing so easy and comfortable, and giving me lots of encouragement and the confidence to start to master the water (I know I still have a lot to learn, and I just hope my future instructors are as good!).

I had a quick dinner then on the walk back to the hostel, was tempted in for a 1 hour massage for 4. It's really very difficult to say no. So thusly I enjoyed an oily, not to vigourous massage and went back to my hostel to bed. It was only when I got back that I realised I was a bit itchy, and looking at my arms and legs saw little bites all in a row in various place. GRRRR Bed bugs!! Great. Tiger balm was applied, I must now have at least 20 bites about my person, which is a wonderful contrast - red against white skin. 

Best thing: Teaching on my own AND getting my licence

Worst thing: bloody bed bugs

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Mrs Bloom on

Ice coffee!!! I love those...

Regarding bedbugs - you might want to think about hot washing and leaving out in the sun any clothing which may have come into contact with bedbugs, as they can travel with you and contaminate other beds. Might be worth reading up on the subject on forums.

I reckon you'll be ending up a hippy wearing loose white clothing with a hundred children around you loving you for being their best English teacher... A happy vision for the future me thinks xxx

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