Saturday, 28 February 2009

Day 1 - Hanoi

Following on a tradition from a previous project, I thought I’d start my first blog with my Vietnamese word of the day, which today is sin jòw, meaning hello. This seemed an appropriate choice especially as we’ve had such welcoming responses from many of the people we have met so far.

We also received a lovely email from the IBM Vietnam General Manager welcoming us to Vietnam, introducing us to the 250 IBMers working here and thanking us for taking part in the CSC initiative. We’ve been invited to have dinner with him and others in his team, where we’ve been told we’ll be sampling some of the local rice wine.

After almost 15 hours of travelling, I made it to Hanoi yesterday. Monica, Gosia and I stumbled across one another in Bangkok airport, looking tired and slightly bedraggled and having not met in person before, we congratulated ourselves on vaguely resembling our photos on Bluepages. After having spoken on the phone, during the numerous teleconferences we’ve had over the past 2 months, it was good to finally match the voice to the face.

We spent yesterday evening chatting with some of our other team members and despite the jet lag, have continued to get to know each other and Vietnam by visiting various sites in Hanoi today. These included the Temple of Literature, which was built in 1070 and was Vietnam’s first school, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the one pillar pagoda and of course the famous water puppet theatre. Each of these was an oasis of tranquillity, surrounded by the hustle, bustle, oriental smells and scooter horns, familiar to many Asian cities.

I did experience something which I had not come across before, despite my years of travelling. We decided to stop for a drink in one of the local café/bars and on the menu the same drink was priced differently depending on whether you were a woman or a man. If any of you were wondering, which was cheaper it was the woman’s drink. I’m not sure what that suggests about women, or men for that matter, but it did strike me as a bit bizare.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Hello! Welcome to my personal IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) Vietnam blog. I'll be arriving in Hanoi on 27th February, so if you have the time and would like to pseudo-join me on my assignment watch this space.....