Volunteer heaven

Am feeling much better today – no headache (which I think was what was at the root of my so-so day yesterday).

Today was my first full day volunteering at PIC (Project Indochina) and I had a ball. But more about that after the mandatory daily food share… Thuy (pronounced Twee) offered to take me to the local Maccas for lunch today. I look at her with a horrified look on my face saying ‘you’re kidding aren’t you – Maccas???? After she gave me a puzzled look, I said – McDonalds? I had to bring up a picture on the internet to show her what I meant. Then they entire office starting laughing as what she had said was MARKET, not Maccas. So market it was and I so wish I had taken my camera with me because it was sensational. A stall with about 10 large bowls of different foods – vegetable dishes, prawns, chilli cucumber, baby banana salad – that’s my name for it by the way, not theirs. These bananas are about 3 sm long, 3mm wide and are taken from the banana trees before they fully develop into bananas – cool huh! It was so nice to eat with the ‘real locals’ for a change and the food was delicious. Don’t get me wrong, the restaurants as I think you have guessed by now are incredible but I feel like today I got to experience a bit more of real Vietnam. They all laugh at my pronunciation of Vietnamese words like thank you, the food is good and goodbye – actually pretty much all words!! I am happy to be a source of amusement for them!

So tonight I broke my rule about only eating the native food of the country I am in. I didn’t however touch a meat pie, parmie, hot chip or lamb chop so I feel like my rule is still mostly intact. Van took me to a local Indian restaurant where I had a Chicken and Mango curry. When asked how spicy I would like it, they were surprised when I said – very spicy! It didn’t disappoint either in taste or spiciness. Another beautiful meal and beautiful company (thanks Van).

Now for more about my volunteering day. Today we worked on a new website for PIC which we hope to have at least a draft finished this week. The day was filled with lots of laughter and joking around and of course lots of work. Happy to say that only one visit from a mouse today – no rats and not a single snake. I thought you might like to see the wonderful girls I am working with so here are some photos.

From left to right are Van, Duong and Thuy. All of them make going into the office an absolute pleasure!

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And finally there is me, with my bicycle (no helmets required in Vietnam) outside the front of the office. Please note, each time I get onto it I feel like I am taking my life into my hands. There are crossroads here that do not have traffic lights and it is a case of look in every direction for motorbikes, other bicycles, trucks, taxis, pedestrians (who walk anywhere and everywhere) and go for it. Or you can take my approach which is close your eyes, pedal hard and hope that everyone swerves to miss you. I mean with skin colour like mine, they surely can’t miss seeing me – daytime or night-time.

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Finished my day, sitting the edge of the rooftop pool with Van, dangling our feet and having a lovely chat.

Hope you are enjoying whatever it is that you are doing, wherever it is that you are right now.

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