|ahoy Hong Kong! too bad I couldn't step out|
|Saigon in the evening|
|taking a picture of boys playing right before getting bonked in the face|
The food is amazing, as I'm sure most people know, I can eat pho 24/7, the street food has been more impressive than the restaurants so far, and I can't get enough of tropical fruits, it reminds me of Bangladesh!
Ho Chi Minh City was fun, but the central countryside of the Quang Nam province is breathtaking. I've been told that Vietnam is beautiful, but even that was an understatement. When we first got here we were able to visit Marble Mountain, huge outgrowths of Marble that were turned into gorgeous temples and shrines for worship. The shrines and Buddha statues are built into countless hidden caves, it was easily of the most beautiful places I've visited, I felt like I had traveled through time. It was also a hiding place for the Vietcong during the Vietnam War and even today bears the bullet holes from the conflict.
|Shrine carved out of Marble Mountain|
The area I am currently blogging from is astounding with large lush rolling mountains framing bright green rice paddies that go as far as the eye can see. Amongst the paddies you can see farmers with conical hats leading huge water buffalo, it's just like the paintings and books described, except this is real!
The scenery is amazing, but it's the Vietnamese people that have impressed me so much during my trip. Everyone is super friendly, and unlike people that may come to Vietnam as tourists, I was lucky enough to be part of development efforts with Habitat for Humanity, where I worked directly with a family to build their home in the countryside in the city of Hiep Duc.
|working hard to build homes|
After building 2 days ago, we decided to play volleyball with the locals, and the entire neighborhood came out to watch us play. Vietnamese and American were on the same team, and we laughed, shouted and kicked ass at Volleyball, while some Habitat team members ended up getting bombarded with children, who wanted piggy back rides and their pictures taken, with the requisite peace sign (every kid throws up a peace sign when i take their picture, it's hilarious and really cute).
|The son of the family we biult with|
And last night was pretty crazy finally to my team and I's last night in Hiep Duc. Government officials threw what can be best describes as a mini concert where our Habitat crew and locals had a on stage cultural echange of music, singing and other talents. A teacher and local government officials sang songs in Vietnamese, while Roberto and I did a capoeira demonstration, our team leader Janet led the crowd in a stirring rendition of "head, shoulders, knees and toes", and our entire team came together for an acapella version of "Eye of the Tiger".
|dancing around the fire|
|chugging rice wine with government officials|
|Our Habitat for Humanity group, from SF to Vietnam!|
Off to the historic city of Hoi An, then to beautiful Halong Bay and then Hanoi. I can't wait.
Oh and also
I love Vietnam!!