Thursday, September 27, 2007

4th, 5th and 6th Day in Vietnam

Fourth Day (Friday)

Two meetings were scheduled. The meeting in the afternoon is about 1 hour drive away. So, after the first meeting in the morning, we returned to the hotel for awhile to collect our stuff and left for Dong Nai – a town where the College is situated. Upon arriving, we had steamboat for lunch.

I was not directly involved in this meeting with the College. I was there as an observer, and I have learnt much from my colleague Anis who presented to a group of about 200 students.

Scenes from Dong Nai

Anis and my other colleague planned to go to Saigon Square for shopping, but I decided to return to the hotel to rest. However, at about 7 pm, they called me up for dinner at Pho 24. It seemed that Saigon Square has closed. At Pho 24, I had the first taste of ice blended ciku – awesome!

Big ciku in Vietnam

After dinner, Anis shopped around the hotel, but I went back to the hotel to prepare for the last meeting tomorrow.

Fifth Day (Saturday)
The meeting was held at a College in Binh Duong which is about an hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. We had a meeting with the management team in the morning. Before lunch, they took us to Minh Long –

Minh Long known throughout Asia and Europe for its high quality porcelain was founded in 1970 by Mr. Ly Ngoc Minh, a man inspired by and devoted to creating exquisite porcelain. Minh Long is an independent family owned and operated company. Each piece of Minh Long porcelain is unequaled in craftsmanship and artistry. Its beauty and elegance has captured my heart. I bought a set of figurines that depict the birth of Jesus in the Manger. It includes baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, three wise men, 2 angels and 3 barn animals. I also bought baby Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy.

We were so engrossed in choosing the porcelain that the hosts had to keep on reminding us that it was time for lunch. Lunch was fantastic – fish soup, prawns, clams, bitter gourd, and special coconut jelly for dessert. The rice was served in a unique manner – 2 little bowls closed together. I could finish only 1 bowl. It tasted nice – soft and the grain looks smaller than the rice here.

After the feast, it was time to meet with the students. There were about 400 students in the class! Firstly, we showed the corporate VCD of the College. Then, I gave a general presentation on the facilities and courses we offer. Next, I passed the remaining time to Anis to share with them 10 reasons to study at our College. Finally, we had the Q&A session. This is the first time I spoke to a group of students who mostly don’t speak/understand English. The translators were really helpful indeed. It is a good experience for me to share with such a big crowd, and to talk at a slower pace.

After the talk with the students, the Management presented each one of us with a gift from Minh Long – a porcelain plate which illustrates the vivid beauty of Vietnamese Culture. Cool, eh? It was a surprise. This is the only institution that treated us lunch and presented us with gift. They also provided us with transport to the College. Hehehe!

Scenes from Binh Duong

We left the College at about 3:30 pm. We went back to the hotel to change. Then, Anis and I took the taxi to Saigon Square – where she was trying to go the previous day. Actually, it was not closed but it has moved to another location nearby. Maps to the new location were distributed outside the old premises, and so we took the same taxi there. Saigon Square is a representative of modern shopping in Vietnam. It is new and clean. There are about 20 retail outlets selling ‘branded’ leather products, backpack, shirts and shoes. Seng Chor would be delighted to ‘make friends’ with the ‘pirates’.

After checking out the price, I was so tempted to buy a Guess handbag for 280 000 Dong = RM 61.00. Eventually, I didn’t and got branded a “bad girl” by the retailer. Hehehe! To celebrate my ‘achievement’ (able to control myself), I bought myself a bag with handmade embroidery for 130 000 Dong (RM 28). That’s all I bought from Saigon Square.

Next, we took the cab to Ben Tanh Market. Anis wanted to get some sandals. Well, I shopped again, but very little:

  • 2 Key chains

  • A spoon made of sea shell

  • A bookmark

We had dinner at Pho 2000 – a cheaper restaurant than Pho 24. I ordered the refreshing ice blended ciku again. Then, we shopped some more at the night market because Ben Tanh market was closed. I bought 4 pairs of earrings.

Finally, it was enough! We took the cab back to the hotel and started to pack.

Sixth and Last Day (Sunday)
Anis and I traveled back to KLIA. Our flight landed before 1:30 pm.

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