As I venture into my 2nd and 3rd week I have finally gotten over the jet leg, and feel like Im starting to conquer some normal everyday things that the Vietnamese do every day. Crossing the street, I know it sounds easy but not when you don’t have any stop lights or cross walks! let alone having cars, buses, taxi’s, motor bikes and bicycles all whizzing side by side each other, passing and honking to let each other know they are coming. Im not 100% comfortable yet… but getting there! My second area of focus is to really start to learn the city and landmarks so that when Im going somewhere I can keep on top of it. Not always is the google map accurate so knowing where your going and the general area of landmarks has made getting to my destination successful! They do have Uber and a competing company called Grab, which I use daily. Grab actually has a loyalty rewards program and I’m happy to say that Im already at the Silver status with only one more level to strive to; Platinum. Lastly I’ve had success in finding a permanent home, I will move in next week Sept 7! Its a 1 bedroom apartment, good size kitchen in a 10 apartment complex, Its in a great area (expat area), 12 min walk to the beach with a roof top pool. Cannot wait to move in and go to the local market to stock the shelves and cook myself a meal! Danang is known for its beach… so it was only fitting for me to spend my first weekend there! white sand and bath-like ocean!
Last week I started at the Duy Tan University, which is where I will be working for the next 12 months. The faculty has about 25 teachers who are all very young, hard working, energetic to educate the future hospitality leaders. Class sizes range from 40 -70 students, and most teachers work every day including weekends. I will be working along side of the Assistant Dean Ms Tai, she has invited me to participate in her Introduction to Management in Hospitality Industry course to the 1st year students, as well as Introduction to Hotel management to 2nd year. These courses are taught in English.
On the weekend, I decided with my fellow Uniterra colleague Maaike and her family to travel to Hue (pronounced hway) on the train. It is a UNESCO World heritage site, which is rich with historic exploration and home to the Imperial city, Forbidden city, Citadel, Mausoleums, Pagodas and Palaces, Winding through this historic capital is the Perfume river. Kindly another volunteer working with Uniterra was stationed out of Hue, (Nina from Winnipeg) arranged our hotel. It was called the Times hotel. Nina’s was there for 3 months under the Students without borders program and had been there since June, her 3 month just come to an end this past Tuesday and she has a travelled back to Winnipeg for 2 days before she moves to Hamilton to continue her Masters in Public Health.
On the afternoon we arrived in Hue, it was pouring rain, so we decided to hit the Imperial City, which is enclosed by an outer wall which is 10 km. During 1804 – 1945 the Imperial city was home to 13 Emperors. I was able to walk through the citadel, Thai Hoa Palace, and through the Great Golden Gate in to the the Forbidden Purple city. The Forbidden purple city was forbidden to everyone except for the emperor, the immediate royal family, their servants and concubines, and select imperial members of court. Emperor Minh Mang had 300 wives and concubines and 149 children and Emperor Tu Doc murdered his own brother to come into power and spent most of his time composing 4000 poems, he enjoyed having 50 chefs prepare 50 courses which was served to him by 50 different servants. One of my favorite buildings was the Royal Theater which was built in 1826.
That night we went to an authentic Vietnamese restaurant serving some of Hue’s specialties; I tried Bahn Beo – which means Water fern Cake, a rice pancake filled with chopped dried or fresh shrimp,pork crackle, fried shallots, fish sauce and other savory ingredients. It was a soft and rubbery in texture, very tasty. Next up was Banh Khoai, which is a crispy yellow pancake made of egg and rice flour, fried up with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts and eaten with a special peanut and sesame sauce.. delicious
The next day we had a private driver booked to take us to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the tombs of Emperors; Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. The pagoda was a real peaceful place with beautiful views of the Perfume river. It has an active Buddhist center and the Monks were enjoying a meal. The 3 mausoleums were all very different in design, architecture and charm unique to the personality of each emperor. These mausoleums usually planed in detail during his life to serve as his palace in death. Statues, tile decorations, and gardens surrounded them. Along the way we stopped to watch them make Incense sticks. Their incense sticks have many different aromas, including the popular agarwood, cinnamon and pine. I purchased citrus, the others were a little too strong for me.
I really enjoyed Hue, and will welcome the chance to go back to see what i missed! Maybe when some of you come to visit me! lol
This week I’ve continued to explore Danang, and have tried a few different restaurants including some really tasty Indian and Korean cuisine. This upcoming weekend is a holiday weekend, with Monday being Independence day. One of my best meals was Spring rolls and Cashew nut chicken!
Thank you for all of comments! I love hearing from each and every one of you!