Saturday, May 2, 2009

HaLong Bay was fantastic!

If you're in need of some quiet, serene & tranquil time...HaLong Bay is highly recommended. It was our 1st weekend here in VietNam & decided to experience HaLong & CatBa as a team. Since there were 6 of us, we arranged for a private boat with individual cabins. I truly didnt expect our boat to be as luxurious as what it was - the deck was where we hung out most of the day & night. It was perfect to enjoy great company & breathtaking sites. I was also surprised at how cold it gets.

We spent about 2 hrs on our "yacht" (huh!) at which point we anchored & got to a smaller speed boat that took us to a cave island - I swear I have not climbed that many stairs at 1 go & then more walk-a-bouts in the huge cave... that was my week's exercise right there!

Next stop was CatBa town- where we had lunch & then on the boat to Monkey Island. The island was a little crowded with visitors, so we decided to skip the monkeys hence anchored nearby where some went swimming towards a private island. I stayed on the boat & there were some turbulent on board that made me feeling a little sea sick...

Thankfully we made our way back & hopped onto a bus & back to the wharf & on another beautiful "yacht". Our journey took us back to HaLong Bay & I got to soak in all that beautiful scenery for 1 last time..what bliss!

Though the journey was quite tiring (mostly because we were on & off boats & buses) but my favourite part was being on the boats sailing on HaLong Bay. Words cant describe how beautiful & serene it was! I would do that again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"katak bawah tempurung"

The more I get to know people around me, the more I feel bland, boring, uninteresting & just blah..
Here's the deal - everyone here have been places, seen places, done things I would never even crossed my mind, speak multiple languages & on top of all that...they are super smart! And all I can offer is "i've come across a cobra in my house!" yay! :-P

Am actually amazed at what other peoples' lives have been & are about. To a certain extent, I do envy that, but dont regret mine. One thing's for sure though..for those young & eager..I completely recommend you go out & explore the, career etc can wait a month or so. It further reaffirms my hope for my boys to spend a gap year in some obscure place (as many as they can stomach) at some point in their young lives.
........oh how I miss them!

keeping it real...

Today was another 1st for me...i did yoga! wow! i know..i'm still in shock myself :-) oooo...and on top of that, i did it at 5.30am! (jaw on the floor). How long this will be sustained, remains to be seen..but am glad that my teammates' good habits are rubbing off on me (ok, maybe not the running 10km in the morning habit..but yoga at 5.30am is pretty darn good, if i say so myself!).

On the work front today, I think I got to a good start. And though I am no expert in (anything..) business per se...but because I had to interrogate, I think I'm learning about sales, marketing, branding, accounting & finance systems etc... too :-) All a little daunting I must admit. But I do have the next 3.5weeks to figure this we'll see..

Above all else, it has been an interesting adventure here & am still at awe of how trusting & relaxed Vietnamese are. They welcome any stranger from any walks of life with opened quandry! As an Asian myself, I find that surprising..which makes it a double whamy! Its a completely different world here...and in the midst of their (what seems to be) chaos, there is harmony, sense of purpose & utter calmness! Despite what I (as an outsider) see can be changed, I would caution myself, because to be honest, I think it is me/us that can learn from them. Besides, if the way they have done things have worked for yonks, then who the heck am I to say differently! No, I'm not trying to wiggle my way out from my assignment here...just keeping it real.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

am feeling a little guilty..

Today was our 1st work day. We met with our respective clients at VCCI. It was much like going on a first date. All 7 of us were seated round the table with spaces in between, for our interpretors & clients. Our clients came 1 by 1, for a short briefing & introductions. After which we were all whisked away to our individual workplace. A sense of nervousness swept through me, as I saw my teammates leave & thinking..."you're pretty much on your own now Ida!".
In walked a smiling lady & that was my client! She spoke very little English but a pleasant lady she was. She took me to her factory & workplace - which coincidentally was also her home. Did a quick tour of the factory & met with all her staff. Law & behold that was all i did!!! Oh and sipped tea & ate fruits!! Apparently today is the 3rd day of the lunar month & not good to start work/something new. My workday ended at noon! For the next month, I will be working there & she has even prepared a bedroom for me to rest in during lunch. Now this is what we call work-life balance!! :-)
Having said that, I will have my work cut out for me in this next month. Hope I can be of some use to them here. You know when people are that nice & earnest, the pressure of doing well & good is that much more. So I hope I dont dissappoint them.

Have to admit, I do feel a tad bit guilty & spoilt! We've got decent accomodation, am picked up to & fro every morning for work, half day on my 1st day & I have a bed in the office ,for crying out loud! Oh and did I mention its a 4-day weekend here this week & we're off to HaLongBay & CatBa island!

getting acquinted with the new home..

Got in to our new home here in Hai Phong..the Camela Hotel. Most of it is still being constructed, but you wont believe that there is a golf driving range, swimming pool, tennis court & 3 of my new neighbours - 3 baby crocs, i fondly name Hai, Phong & well as an eagle called Camela! Hey, I thought i was here to do CSR..this is not bad at all i tell ya..heh heh! Before you get synical...we are here to do work. It is pretty daunting & am rather nervous about my 1st day today. Meeting the client & setting expectations. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

a big step

I have many things to be grateful for, but today as I touchdown, to what will be my new home for the next month, I am reminded how privileged i am to get to where i am now - amongst colleagues (meeting for the first time) with varied backgrounds, countries & experiences, but with a common goal - to do our organization, country & ourselves. We are in Vietnam to help various NGOs/SMEs better their business/problem solving. (sish..what consultan-y gibberish!). Bottom line we're trying to help with the socio-economic state of various entities - kinda like peace corp, but in/for business.

I cant believe i am actually here, doing this & will be here for 1 whole month! (Surely this earns me points with "The" man upstairs??!!!). God help me..or is it God help Vietnam?? huh!

This is truly a big step for me - leaving home, coming out here taking on an assignment i have not ever done before (solve the accounting & finance system..puh huh??!!), facing it all by myself (without my sturdy companions...hey all of you in KL - at least u have each other! boo hoo..) & 30 full days in a foreign land without comforts of home.
All said, I'm psyched!!! bring it on...

1st time for everything..

Well looky looky here... the internet age has (finally) caught up with me! Here I am with my first blog! How impressive eh? Am feeling adventurous of late & thought..lets infest the cyberworld with my over active imagination & give my fans (ok so they're not fans, more like folks who'll induldge in my gobbledygook) something to read about. How long will i keep this up, is anyone's guess. For now, here goes...