Well, here we go again – another assignment with AVI. Arrived in Hanoi 13th August for two and a half weeks of in country orientation and a crash language course before heading to our destination at Quang Ngai on the central coast. There we'll be doing much the same thing as in Lanzhou with me looking after the domestic front and trying to find something useful to do.
The language is scary but interesting. Vietnamese has 11 vowels (not to mention another 9 double vowels and 3 special vowels) as well as 6 tones. Even then I've probably left some out. Pronunciation is the killer but luckily the grammar is pretty simple. There had to be a break somewhere.
We've been dropped suddenly into the heat and humidity which was a nice change from the winter weather of Perth - except perhaps the humidity. There were a dozen of us to begin with, as usual an intriguing mix - teachers, therapists, environmentalists - but also people doing silviculture, land use mapping and TAFE connected motorbike maintenance. Then half (those heading to assignments in the south) went to Ho Chi Minh City for the language training. The five of us left in Hanoi spent a week and a half with lessons in the mornings, then afternoons hanging around in Hanoi, enjoying the good food and generally soaking up the atmosphere. In an amazing twist we bumped into one of Owen's students from our first placement in East Timor who now works in the Timorese embassy!
We did a little bit of shopping for things we suspected we may not be able to get in Quang Ngai – but then just hanging in limbo, waiting to go to our final destination. Especially when the others, who were remaining in Hanoi, began to find accommodation and get settled.
Hanoi. Busy, bustling, noisy, hot, humid, crowded. Motorcycle reigns. I'll let the photos tell the rest.