Friday, 6 March 2009

TV show

We’ve moved onto Vietnamese sentences now. ‘I am hungry’ sounds like toy daang doy (the tone of doy goes up). We had another delicious lunch today of stir fried pork, prawns, veg and rice, finished off with a fruit that I have never come across before. At first I thought it looked like a guava, but it tastes like a cross between a melon and a coconut. Very sweet, with juice the colour of milk, which I managed to dribble down my chin. The Vietnamese think nothing of slurping their food and burping at the dinner table, so I didn’t look completely uncouth.

After sharing with you some of the work I have been doing in yesterday’s blog, I got paid a very nice complement by Mr Dung today just before I left the site. He told me that he is very pleased with the progress we have made and also thinks I have a very good understanding of his business. It seems in the space of a week I have become an expert in the Vietnamese steel industry. Could this be a valuable addition to my CV?! Hmm, not sure about that one ;-) but I thought it was nice of him to say none the less. To say thank you and to celebrate International Women’s Day (it’s a big calendar event in Vietnam) he has offered to show me around Hai Phong on Sunday. The generosity of the Vietnamese people never fails to impress or amaze me.

This evening, we were invited to be part of the audience for a TV show, presented by a very famous (so we were continually being told) Vietnamese quiz show host. We weren’t very sure what to expect, but based on our experiences so far in Vietnam, we prepared ourselves for any eventuality. Seated in the second row, behind the judges, we watched and listened while the rather camp quiz show host strutted around the stage, in a bright turquoise shirt, to the swoons and cheers of the crowd. The quiz was similar to the Mr and Mrs TV show in the UK, where couples pair up and have to perform tasks and answer questions about one another. We didn’t understand anything, but cheered, laughed and grinned like the enthusiastic audience we were. It came as no surprise when one of our team members was invited to pick a raffle ticket out of a glass fish (the fish is a symbol of luck), while each of us sat there praying that it wasn’t our number. Then it came: moat, sow, cheen (the only words I understood during the whole show!) The number of the winning raffle ticket belonged to Arjan. Instantly, he became a star, grinning and waving to the crowd as he collected his prize from the Vietnamese celebrity. The prize was a beauty treatment at the spa we had visited a few days ago. The show is going to be broadcasted over the next few weeks and we’ve been promised a CD of the recording to take home.
We’ve been invited to a wedding tomorrow evening, which will be attended by the mayor of Hai Phong and over 1000 guests! (No wonder they’ve been looking at me strangely when I’ve told them that there is only going to be 60 guests at my wedding – I must look like Billy No Mates). Goodness knows what the wedding is going to involve, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.

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