Where Exceptional Begins

Thoma’s Travels Vol. V | Vietnam


Posted on July 19th, by Jim Thoma in Professors, Study Abroad. No Comments

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After Judy and I departed from South Korea, we flew to Hanoi, North Vietnam. I was looking forward to this particular trip, because Hanoi is home to many Mount alums and current students.
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In Hanoi we shared meals with many of the alums; we ended up eating way too much food, but there was plenty of good conversation! Buffet restaurants are very popular here, and their restaurants are excellent with “western” dishes also. We were able to eat delicious spaghetti and pizza.saigon-5
We also visited a college recruiting agency which helps Vietnamese high school students find the appropriate universities in the USA and other countries. Ironically, the Vietnamese person with whom we spoke was best friends with the UMU grad we were staying with during our trip. What a small world!

In Hanoi, Judy and I were approached by a first-grade class who was on a field trip and wanted to speak English. We had fun speaking to the little kids who only knew a few English words like “grandfather.”

After Hanoi, Judy and I took the 36-hour train ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam, the largest city in Vietnam. We saw lots of rice fields and fruit growing throughout the trip. We ended up sharing a sleeping compartment with six others, including a 2-year-old boy. None of whom spoke English. There was definitely a lot of visual “talking.”

Waiting on our train to Saigon

Waiting on our train to Saigon

In the south we stayed with the family of a UMU grad who had lived at our home in Alliance. The highlight was food (of course), the French Catholic cathedral, the floating food market in the Mekong Delta and, of course, good friendship and conversation! Also, while we were in Mekong Delta, we had the opportunity to carry a full sized python.

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Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

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Our next stop is Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit the world famous Buddhist temples. Here we go!

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