Archive for the 'Vietnam' Category

Goodbye to Vietnam!

May 22, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m heading home in a few hours, my flight is at 5:00 AM! I’m almost all packed up and ready to go. This is my 200th post on the blog, so thank you so much for reading. Yesterday and today were working days spent in meetings, running around to different markets, making phone calls, and working with a translator. 20130521_165507This afternoon after I finished collecting data, I went to the War Remnants Museum. It was very interesting. I have a bunch of great pictures from there but they aren’t loading. I hung out with some guys there from Denmark who were heading to Vung Tau soon and gave them some advice about the ferry. I got a body scrub before dinner and that was heavenly. For the meal I went back to the Japanese restaurant to get some of the small plates that the guys were eating last time. A tofu steak, salmon wrapped in bacon, and some grilled veggies. See you soon!

Love, Annie

Monday in HCMC

May 20, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was a very productive day. I woke up very early, worked with just a small break until my meeting at 2:00, and finished around 7:00 PM. I was getting very tired after the first supermarket of the afternoon, but needed to push onwards because there was another market right in the same area. 20130520_204335The second market was a Metro market. I’ve been to Metro markets in the other cities in Vietnam. They are very annoying to survey because they are enormous, everything is in a value pack (it’s like halfway Costco) they make you put your purse in a little plastic bag and staple that shut for security. Uh! It does have really fabulous quality produce and meats, though. They have a special freezer room for meats and they give you vests to go in there so you don’t get cold trying to figure out which is the Australian strip loin. Fortunately, before I went in I spotted a Yogenfrüz at the exit of the market.


I actually went in the exit by mistake and they made me go around. But that encounter lifted my spirits and when I was done with the market I got an awesome Yogenfrüz with raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, blackberries, and mango on the top. Yeah! Those who have been following my blog for a while know that Yogenfrüz is one of my favorite things. I first enjoyed one in Antofagasta in August, and have not passed a Yogenfrüz without getting one since (I don’t actually pass them that often). I had the manager of the store take a picture of me and people laughed at that. It came out blurry. Boo! After the market I had a nice evening walk around the neighborhood of my hotel. I did a little shopping but mostly walking around. For dinner, I went to an Indian restaurant and ate curry sea bass. It will be an early day tomorrow as well!

Love, Annie

Back to Ho Chi Minh City

May 19, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

This morning, after eating PB and J for breakfast again, I spent an hour at the beach and swam before packing up. I took the ferry from Vung Tau back to Ho Chi Minh City around noon. It took two hours instead of 1.5 but that wasn’t really a big deal.


I checked back into the same hotel and It’s still awesome. Then I went to go check out this hair cut place but that was a waste of time because while having a “consult” the main hairstylist basically just made a face and made me feel bad that my hair was frizzy and made me feel ugly so screw that place. I left immediately.

20130519_094956I didn’t feel that the trip was a complete waste of time though because on the way there we had a mini adventure. The taxi driver got pulled over by the police. He hadn’t done anything wrong. The driver got out of the car, went to talk to them, and ran back to the car and said “I gave them money and they let me go” and then we left. Cool! The officers were arguing pretty hard with a different car that had also gotten pulled over.

In the late afternoon I got a hot stone massage which was really nice and then had a nice dinner. Looking forward to a full day of work tomorrow!

Love, Annie

Working Days in Vung Tau

May 18, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday and today were full of work in Vung Tau. I haven’t really done anything here besides work, eat, gym, and play 20130518_141401I went to the beach club of the hotel for lunch yesterday, and it was nice to swim in the ocean. Tomorrow I’ll probably wake up early and swim in the ocean again. I have a ferry back to Ho Chi Minh City around noon and will enjoy my day off there before work again on Monday. I think I will have a spa-afternoon and maybe get a body scrub or wrap because I’ve never had that and they are inexpensive here, even at the fancy places!

Love, Annie

Hi Vung Tau!

May 16, 2013

Dear Family and Friends, 

This morning I got up early to catch the 8:30 Ferry from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau. 


It was just an hour and a half long ride during which I did some work and then slept. I’ll be heading back to Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday and will finish my work there next week before heading home – a week from today! Ah! I do love being on survey, but I also want to get back to the people I love at home. After getting settled in the hotel, I headed straight to work. I ate lunch at a restaurant on the beach, and then continued to work through the afternoon. 


I had a nice work out and then dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The tender tofu wan’t as good as I was expecting (I have some high standards for this dish now) but the veggies and rice were good, and I got this “health tea” that had some interesting fruits in it and ginger pieces. Yum! I look forward to getting up early, eating a full breakfast (it’s included in the room rate… Yippyy) and heading out for a full day of work. It’s pouring right now and I hear thunder but am very comfy. Hope you are doing well too! 

Love, Annie

Awesome day in HCMC

May 15, 2013

Dear Family ann Friends,

Today was a great and productive day, despite an uncooperative belly. 20130515_200359I worked all day and had a nice work out in the late afternoon. For dinner, I went to this little Japanese restaurant. I sat down at the bar at a spot that just happened to be next to the owner, Jimmy, and we started talking. Then his friends came to the restaurant and for the next three hours, we drank shochu, ate interesting food, and laughed. They wanted me to be in the middle for this picture. I tried all sorts of sashimi meats, including beef sashimi (imported from Japan, of course). I had never had it before and it was really really delicious. 20130515_144350The three guys had played golf earlier in the day and I gather the owner won, and made some money from it. So the friends kept saying, we’ll have this on the house! Put this on Jimmy’s bill! We already paid him today! Ha. The guy on the right in the picture is an executive for a Japanese women’s lingerie company, and things got pretty silly once we started discussing his job and bras in general. Tomorrow morning I go by Hydrofoil ferry to Vung Tau.

Love, Annie

Hello Ho Chi Minh City!

May 14, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve arrived safely in Ho Chi Minh City and am doing well. The hotel is really nice and in a great location. 20130514_202353It’s a lot more built up and it seems that the traffic and driving situation is a little less hectic than in Hanoi, although I haven’t been here enough time to have a real impression. I got here in the evening after a morning of working. One the flight over there was a one year old boy sitting next to me on his dad’s lap but he was pretty well behaved. He was very messy though. 20130514_205310For dinner I went to a Vietnamese restaurant walking distance from the hotel. I had sea bass, rice, and eggplant. Yum. I was so full after dinner that I had to go for a walk and walked around for a while. I went into some stores because they are open late. Yesterday was another nice day in Hanoi.

20130513_151422I worked and took a break to see the Hanoi Hilton Prison museum. Here I am in the women’s section. I worked out in the evening and don’t think the air conditioner was working at the gym so it was pretty disgusting. I’m very excited to work in Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow.

Love, Annie

Happy Mothers Day Hanoi Style

May 12, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Mothers Day! Especially to my Mom, Bubbie, and Grandma and Bubbia, and also to the other mothers that read this blog. 20130512_142101Today was great. After a lazy morning, I went to get lunch at a place Quan An Ngon. One of the women in a meeting the other day recommended it. This place is not to be missed if you go to Hanoi. The restaurant was big, and packed. Most of the tables are long and you just sit among everyone. I like places like that when I’m alone.

There was a group of men next to me that were eating lunch and drinking beers. 20130512_133850It seemed like a lot of fun and they were friendly as they could be without speaking a language in common. The first thing I ordered was a thin pancake with sprouts, shrimps, and meat, because thats what the men were having and it looked really good. It comes with rice paper, and you roll up the pancake with the rice paper and some herbs. I made a pretty sloppy roll at first. 20130512_135939I guess the guy next to me was not okay with my rolling technique, so he made one for me. I was pretty surprised when he grabbed my chop sticks and started picking up my food but happy to be shown by someone who clearly knew what he was doing.

The pancake wasn’t very big or filing, so I ordered another dish, grilled oysters with spring onion. Really awesome. 20130512_150551I wanted to share but was also happy to be able to eat them all. After lunch I went to a ceramic village outside of the city. That was also fun. I walked around and saw some awesome ceramic creations. The picture is from the back of one of the stores. I’m not sure what these people were doing but I think they wanted me to take their picture. You can see the woman on the left posing. I hope you have a happy day!!!

Love, Annie

Saturday exploring in Hanoi

May 11, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

After working in the morning, I went out to explore the old quarter and was able to walk there from the hotel. 20130511_170430It’s on the other side of a small lake. So far I had not done any exploring yet in this city. The old quarter was pretty great. Lots of shops close together, foods, and people. I wandered around and got lost on all the little streets. Today was a great day and I definitely enjoy Hanoi.

Love, Annie

Happy Friday from Hanoi

May 10, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Friday!


Today was just another work day. I had a meeting and went to a massive supermarket. I ate some awesome rice noodle rolls with beef and cilantro. There were more than this but I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture before inhaling most of them. You dip them in the spicy soup sauce before eating them. My mouth was on fire from the whole experience.


At the market I found this enormous vegetable so that was really exciting! On the way back to the hotel from the supermarket we sat in a lot of traffic. I worked out in the evening and got to talk on the phone with my mom, which was really nice. Tomorrow is another working day but I’m going to (try to) sleep a little later.

Love, Annie