Vinh Long 5

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March 11th 2018
Published: March 11th 2018
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I've been walking the town a bit to see what is out there. More of the same so far; street -side stalls, cafe's by the dozen, hole-in-the wall shops, old French colonial government buildings now used for Vietnamese Government things, including the Post Office. I had wanted to send some liitle things to my three grand daughters; they enjoy mail arriving with their names on it. I bought identical packets of colouring pens and large notebooks for them to draw in and went to the Post Office. They parcelled them up for me there and wrote down a cost for postage, 230,000VND (about NZ$13) so that was fine. After filling in 2 separate forms in triplicate with carbon paper as well, for each parcel, including passport number, I was informed that the cost would be 305,000VND FOR EACH PARCEL! A total of around NZ$55. Even the woman behind the counter looked aghast. However, cheap at the price for the dearly beloved's. The contents of each cost around $2.50 each but don't tell them that.

Eric, the Canadian part-owner of the business arrived back from New Zealand yesterday. We went out tonight after lessons finished to have a beer. Found a place that served beer and food, ordered two beers and some food, which we knew was squid but that was as far as our knowledge went. A plate of raw squid arrived with a brazier and a pot and we then cooked it along with a few vegetables and ginger. We had another beer, enjoyed the food and paid our bill. The point of this is that for 4 beers, a large helping of quite nice squid and some veges, we paid 100,000VND or about NZ 6.50.

There's a small museum just down the road which I entered a day or so ago. Not a lot of money spent on it. The buildings are French colonial and rather good to look at. Inside there was very little on show apart from many photos of local and national heroes (I assume), old grainy photos of the American War, a small memorial to Ho Chi Minh, lists of what I ssumed were war dead and, in another building an exhibition to do with the importance of betel nut in marriage ceremonies. Outside were some rusting relics of the war; two American jets that had been shot down or abandoned after their withdrawal, a falling apart helicopter, an old field gun, an armoured troop carrier.... you get the picture. Interesting to spend an hour there but badly in need of some funding - unlikely I think in this small provincial city.

So life trundles on here. Still averaging around 35/36 degrees every day with humidity in the 75 to 80% range. It makes exercising not as much a priority as it used to be.

Love to all.

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