Things I think

I really like the man that runs the restaurant in this hotel. Something about him – he just looks friendly. I have learned the Vietnamese for thank you (sounds like “cam uh”). I always thank him as I leave, as not many people seem to do that. I feel sheepish as I creep off every day to get coffee somewhere else. Truth is his coffee is crap. Closest latte is at Tous Les Jours and I love their little carry out containers – I feel like Dorothy with a basket. So, today, I sneak off for my coffee and hurry back to be ready for my 7:30 am pick up. Dang! There he is in the lobby as I return and trying to be discreet, I manage to dump my coffee in the middle of the lobby. And, I think…. need to learn the Vietnamese for that popular Canadian expression “sorry”. 

Uber is here in Vietnam, but more prevalent is the company grab bike that uses motorcycles. These drivers in green jackets and helmets are ubiquitous – the city literally looks like it is crawling with green bugs. With the driving here, it would feel like a death wish to get on one. Most gross to me is that the grab bike drivers carry a helmet for you to wear. Imagine how many heads have been in each helmet?  Today my translator has a problem and can’t get to me with a cab, so he suggests I take a grab bike. And I think…. no way and grab an Uber. 

Today I was teaching the basics of a wheelchair assessment and this group of 26 doctors was struggling with pelvic positioning. So, I lay down on a table to demonstrate neutral, anterior and posterior tilts using my favourite Pilates analogy – anterior tilt and the bug can crawl under you, posterior tilt and the bug gets squashed. So, as I’m going through this many, many students are videoing me which is super embarrassing. Then, as I move through the positions, all of a sudden, I have multiple sets of hands feeling under my back, poking me in the hips and the stomach. And I think… wish I hadn’t had that extra scoop of spicy blackberry Phu Quoc pepper ice cream yesterday for lunch

Each day at the end of class I tell the students that I want them to teach me something about Vietnam before they leave. On the first day I learn that this is a soccer crazy country. They just won their semi-final match in the Asian league (2:1 against Philippines). They are set to play Malaysia in the finals. Everyone is very excited, as Vietnam has a decent chance. The final series is 2 games. So, I ask what happens if there is a tie and I learn they then count goals in the series, and I ask what if there is a tie and I learn they then count goals when not the host country, and I ask what if there is a tie and I learn they then count goals in the series. And I think… wouldn’t it just be easier to play 3 games? 

Tonight I had a lovely dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. I decided to go for a stroll after dinner to pick up an ice cream cone. As I am walking along I am feeling that my neck is kind of tight because of the pillow I have been using. So, I stop middle of the sidewalk to give it a stretch and I slowly rotate to look left and I am hearing a noise I am trying to place. As I rotate to look right I realize that I am standing next to a cab and the driver has got out and is standing at the curb with the front passenger door open to shield his penis from traffic while he urinates right there right beside me on the sidewalk. And I think… gross. 



  1. Great thinking Leslie! What do you think…about the ice cream flavours? They sound interesting.

  2. Hey Les,

    Thanks for blogging on Viet Nam, super interesting and sooo different.
    Keep the pics and thoughts coming.


  3. Thanks for NOT posting a picture of the cab driver beside you while stretching your neck!

    Sounds like you are adjusting well. Enjoy!

  4. Well, Lou – the ice cream is good, but have not had cherry like we had in Croatia. There’s a place that has “pho” flavored ice cream and “fish sauce” – I kind of want to try it!!

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