Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wrong class, but explored the neighbourhood

SATURDAY 9th April
The last few days have been pretty much business as usual, apart from the fact that it’s finally warming up. But with the low cloud cover, no blue sky, and it’s very humid. I’m afraid the weather here is just something I’ll have to endure...
Last night was my first ‘VIP’ class.  They are a group of business people who are older than most of our students and include the vice-director. They were very friendly, one lady – Celine – gave me a gift that she had brought back from her recent trip to Cambodia!
It’s a key chain that folds out to become nail clippers, and there’s even a bottle opener under the carved bit (Angkor Wat). That was a pleasant surprise. Our lesson was all about cultural differences between Vietnam and Australia when it comes to leisure activities. They were very keen to communicate with me how it is in their country, so the lesson flowed along very well.
I’ve had a bit of a sore throat the last couple of days, and by the second class last night, I had very little voice left, so my second class of 17 talkative young adults was a bit of a struggle.... I usually have no trouble making myself heard....
Then this morning I headed off to ATA to teach my first class there at 8am. I arrived bright and early (very early for me these days) at 7:30 just as the office staff were arriving. They were obviously surprised to see me, but don’t speak English, so I sat and waited while they fussed about and eventually got Mai on the phone. Turns out she made a mistake on my roster, which clearly says Saturday 9th. My class is tomorrow morning at 8.
So I walked home by a different route that Dave showed me the other night, down some back streets and past Nam Phat Church.  It was all closed up (well it was only 8am after all), but I took a couple of photos:
Like all the churches here, it’s a Catholic Church. This one was built in 1932. I’m pretty sure this is the Church the ladies at Texas BBQ were talking about... where they offer free English lessons, and do a lot of work assisting the poor, especially those infected with HIV who are shunned by Vietnamese society.
Because of the humidity here most buildings look drab and decaying, covered with mould
This is the grotto

As I got close to home, one of the hawkers was peddling by, so I stopped her and bought some of her produce  -  Crisp rice bread, which has very little flavour but would work well with a tasty dip, and puffed rice balls, which have a slightly honey taste and are crunchy, but a bit sticky. Pretty ordinary, really! They cost me $2 all up... I think she saw me coming...

So it was a (false) early start today, then again tomorrow for the real thing, and then again on Monday morning because Ann wants us (the Aussies, not the Pommie with the broad Nottinghamshire accent) to record some dialogues for the Language school at 9am.  I’ll look forward to a bit of a lie-in on Tuesday which apparently is a public holiday – the King’s birthday. Now that’s odd... this is a communist country... what king? I’ll have to find out...

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