Read More About Vietnam on GoNOMAD
Every day it starts early, as a low rumble, at just after 5 am. By 6 am it has grown to a roar of voices, bells, music, bikes, metal clanking against metal, table legs being dragged along pavement, the squeaking of chains needing oil, and the odd cry from caged poultry. Within an hour the deserted streets are full of bustling activity, energy and purpose.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Vietnam has more than 500 national dishes and food plays an enormous part in Vietnamese culture and life. For the adventurous and enthusiastic visitor (which I, despite having spent 10 months here, see myself as), it is a mind blowing and bewildering highlight of being here.
Before the sun has made it over the low rooftops of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon and still affectionately called so by the locals) and its rays lit the still dusky narrow alleyways, the clinking of pots begins: steam rising from rice cookers, broth boiling in giant pots, meat grilling over charcoal, vegetables in all shapes and colours are being peeled, washed and cut, and the distinct smell of fish sauce makes its merciless way around the nooks and crannies of the city. Read more..
It wasn’t the response she had in mind when she asked the class if there were any questions. But then again, Vietnam had been full of surprises for the new teacher. One more wouldn’t hurt.
After a short silence from the students, a girl stood up to speak for her class: “Have you ever been in love?” she asked.
Catherine Loy laughs when telling this story. After two months of volunteer teaching in Vietnam, and three more to go, Catherine is finding it easy to keep her sense of humor.
“I think the most interesting thing is that although the students are quite shy, they ask very personal questions,” Catherine said.
“They will also be very up front about, ‘Will you come and have coffee with me? Will you be my friend?’”
Which has all been fine for Australian-born Catherine, who volunteered through the Global Volunteer Network (GVN), an organization that connects volunteers with communities in need. She hadn’t expected to be embraced by the community — a city called Da Nang located on the banks of the Han River — with such graciousness. Read more...
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