A Travellerspoint blog



Mrs. Thao was going to be in Ho Chi Minh City for a week or so at the end of May and she had been asked by her former employer, the manager of the local TV station to edit a piece of written work. Since, she was going to be away she suggested that it would be best if a native English speaker did the editing. So, I asked Iris if she would like to join me and off we went on our adventure to the local TV station. Well, what ended up being just editing some writing was actually editing a 10 page script for a documentary and I was also going to be the narrator. The documentary was about the My Lai Massacre.

While Iris and I were editing the script, I learned that there was a new book that had just been published about the massacre. It’s called “Kill Anything That Moves” and was written by Nick Turse, an investigative journalist. Nick was able to access classified documents and conducted first person interviews. Basically, his book , which I have not read yet indicates that the My Lai Massacre, was not an isolated incident, as the public was generally led to believe. Anyways, I do have the book, and I do intend to read it.

So, I narrated a 10 page script and was told that both Iris and I would be given credit for our roles in the editing and my narration of the script. I wonder what they are going to do with all those pronunciation mistakes??? We were told once the documentary was published, that both of us would be forwarded a copy. So, here are a couple of pictures of me narrating the documentary at the TV station. I will have to follow up regarding a copy of the documentary. This certainly was most unexpected and for sure will be something I will always remember

Posted by Rhondalee 00:13 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)



When the students were off the for the summer, Iris and myself had the opportunity to go on a “class” trip one Sunday early in June. We were going to be on a day long trip to Sa Huyn beach which is approximately one and a half hours from where we live. The students that were going to the beach were teenagers and all of us squished ourselves into a big van. We started out around 10:00 a.m. and stopped at Sa Huynh fishing village for lunch.

Iris and I had not been here before, so initially we thought this was the beach we were going to, but nope, it was a stopover and it was here that we had the most incredible lunch. I had never seen prawn so big,….and the steamed fish…yummy. We spent a couple of hours here and from this point it was only a short 10 minute or so ride to Sa Huynh beach. The beach is long and there is a resort also situated on the beach. Mrs. Thao rented 2 rooms for the day with the teachers having one room and the students the other. The day had become overcast and we had a short sprinkle of showers. In the background we could here the karoke machine going and there was also a wedding taking place. Once the rain ended we went out onto the beach where the students played a variety of games which some of the teachers had organized. Other students played in the sand while others took advantage of the water and the waves. Since there was also a pool at the resort we spent about an hour there where the students played a ball game in the water. Some of the boys purchased shorts to go swimming and the girls that went into the pool wore shorts. One thing that I have noticed here is that the women/young girls here do not wear bathing suits. What they wear is shorts and a long looking tank top. So needless to say when I have gone to the beach, I get quite a few stares wearing my one piece. Actually the first time I went to the beach here I packed both my 2 piece and my one piece but decided it would be better to wear the one piece. I was already attracting enough attention due to the fact that I was white, blue eyed and blonde/grey haired. Actually when I first started teaching, I went around from student to student to show them my blue eyes and told them that these were not blue contact lenses. We sometimes comment on how funny it is that the women although they do not wear “westernized” bathing suits, they think nothing of wearing short, form fitting dresses with high heeled stilletos and walk along the beach in this garb….it is sort of funny.
We headed back to Quang Ngai around 6:00 p.m. and stopped for chicken and rice. Needless to say, it was a long but full day, and by the time we arrived back to the house both Iris and I were exhausted, and still had to prepare our lessons for the next day…………..here’s some pictures, hope you enjoy them.

Posted by Rhondalee 00:54 Comments (0)



Well, now I know what it feels like to “pay it forward”. And, I am also well-aware that if I hadn’t had the support from my family, friends, my significant other and my employer back in Canada, well, quite simply, this wouldn’t have happened.

When I first arrived in Quang Ngai, I started working with a young woman called Tram (pronounced Cham). Tram’s goal/dream was to receive her Master’s of Business in England and attend University in September 2013. I worked with Tram on a one-to-one basis and the main focus of our meetings was speaking and writing. In order for students in Vietnam to be accepted into a foreign university they have to take the IELTS exam, which stands for the International English LanguageTesting System (I think that’s what it stands for). They say that there is no pass or fail for this exam, but everyone that takes it knows if you do not receive a score of 6.5 then you will not gain admittance into most Universities. The test has four components, speaking, listening, reading and writing. Tram had taken the exam previously but had not gotten the score she required so, with the encouragement of her family she started to take private lessons. I remember, Mrs. Thao (my employer) telling me that after Tram had met me the first time, she told Mrs. Thao that she didn’t understand me at all. Mrs. Thao told Tram, well, that’s because she’s a native English speaker. However, within a couple of weeks, Tram had gotten used to my speed of speaking. I really must reiterate here that although I am the teacher, I am also learning so much from my students. I think what I found personally refreshing was that Tram and I would also discuss at length our viewpoints on the topic that had been selected for her to write or speak about. it was an enriching experience for both of us. I enjoyed the opportunity to express my viewpoint as someone who is older, with some interesting life experiences, someone who has travelled and can also provide a North American viewpoint on a variety of topics.

It was decided that Tram should write her IELTS exam at the end of April. Tram felt that she did well on the exam and she said overall she felt she did well because much of the test focussed on travelling, which her and I had conversed about quite frequently...now we awaited her results, which took about 2 weeks to get.
THEN, in early May I found that Tram had passed….her dream was to become a reality…very soon. When I saw her later that evening, it was so emotional, I admit I cried…to help someone to realize their dream and to see the outcome occur so quickly, was, well, just plain amazing and overwhelming. Tram relayed to me that once she found out her results, which obtained on-line, she woke her parents up early in the morning and they were so proud of her.

I can’t wait to hear about her experiences, I can’t wait to find out about her reaction to the cold and how it feels to feel snow on her face….I am so excited for her. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to get together with Tram before she leaves for England. I wish I had brought a scarf with me from Canada to give to her……………. I’ve included a few pictures of me and Tram, and some pictures of Tram and myself and a couple of the teachers going out for a smoothie ….we just hammed it up for the camera....hope you enjoy them!

Posted by Rhondalee 01:20 Comments (0)



Well, here it is, August, and I’m just updating the blog. I have been here seven months now and I know the remaining months will fly by. At the present time, there hasn’t been much happening in the siteseeing area. As it stands now, other than 2 days off in April due to a public holiday I continue to work 6 days a week. There may be a couple of days off in September and then teacher’s day in November. Other than those 3 days, that’s it for extra time off. Over the next week I hope to fill in some blank spaces on the blog.

Posted by Rhondalee 00:57 Comments (0)

Ban na Hill and Hoi An

Two day mini excursion

April 30th and May 1st were two national holidays in Vietnam. One day was celebrating the re-unification of Vietnam and the second day was workers’ day, or as we call it back home, labourers' day. We had planned a two day excursion to Ban Na Hll and a day overnight in Hoi An. Actually, I would have preferred to spend the entire time in Hoi An and hit the local beach rather than go to Ban Na Hill because the thought of leaving at 5:00 in the morning made me wonder would I be rested or more tired after the two day excursion. I have to say, that I was glad I went to Ban Na Hill, but don’t feel the need to go there again. But it was a great experience. Another attraction that was happening in Danang was the international fireworks competition which Mrs. Thao and her family wished to attend. We (meaning myself and the 3 other teachers) opted out of this as we preferred to spend our day and the following morning in Hoi An.

Ban Na Hill is in Danang and is a French Colonial station that was established in 1919. Ban Na Hill is a mountain resort that I think is still being developed. One of the main attractions is the cable car ride. This cable car is the longest and highest in the world. I also read that it is the steepest cable car ride and also has the longest unbroked cable in the world. The ride lasted about 14 minutes and from above you can see the lush tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Tourist information about Ban Na Hill states that there are 543 species of flora and 256 spieces of fauna When you reach the top of the cable car ride you can get out and go to some of the restaurants, and other sites such as the French Wine cellar. The view is spectatular and seeing the mist with the faint outline of the mountains while you are in the air is amazing. We also saw the Linh Ung Pagoda which is a 27 metre tall statue of Buddah. Ban Na Hill also offers accommodatons and has several restaurants.

After leaving Ban Na Hill we made our way to Hoi An and arrived in Hoi An around 5:00 p.m. I had been to Hoi An, the previous year with my better half, so it brought with it some sweet memories. We also stayed in the same hotel that I had been at the previous year, An Huy Hotel (www.anhuyhotel.com ). Hoi An is described as the Ancient Town and it is just south of Da Nang. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town has quaint winding roads and along the roads are many shopkeepers sellng their wares. There are jewellers, and many, many tailors. But what I enjoy seeing is the silk lanterns that are hung up around the town and lit every lunar moon. No doubt, Hoi An has become commercialized, but I still love the hustle and bustle of the market and seeing the beautfiul flowers for sale in the Market. However, our main reason for coming to Hoi An was to shop, although we all agreed that we would like to have gone to the nearby beach. My goal was to buy some beaded jewllery, but surprise, I bought more than that….a purse and a couple of silk/cotton tops. We all met at 7:00 p.m. and had a great dinner and I had a yummy dessert - a chocolate mouse (which I had tried the previous year) and then we wandered around for a couple of more hours and headed back to our hotel. Before leaving my room earlier on, I had noticed this black slimy thing. It wasn’t an insect as it didn’t have any legs. I definitely did not want to pick it up so I took my garbage can and put it over top of the “thing”. Later on all of us took a look at it and we figured it was probably a baby bat…yuck. Anyways, when I checked out, the garbage can was still overtop the bat…or whatever it was.

When we woke up in the morning we had a great breakfast which was included in the priceof our room and then wewalked around and did some more sightseeing. Iris bought a few items for her family. We had a scrumptious lunch at a nearby stall and hurried back to our hotel so that we could catch the bus back to Quang Ngai City. We had a great time, but I was quite sore for a week due to the long amount of time sitting I had to do in the van and in the bus. Unfortunately I could not get a massage until the day after our arrival back to Quang Ngai. In the future, I will have to really think twice about doing such long trips in a short period of time. However, I am fortunate since can also access very inexpensive massages. Regardless, I look forward to the next time I go to Hoi An as I would like to hit the beach and find a place called Randy’s Book Exchange, which I believe I can access by crossing a bridge to a small island.

Posted by Rhondalee 01:21 Comments (0)

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