posted April 1st
We had a good time staying with our new ‘family’ in Ho Chi Minh City, spending about a week with them before making a small tour around the Mekong Delta, the island of Phu Quoc, (very close to Cambodia), & various coastal towns. We finished off by visiting missionary friends back in HCMC before flying on to Malaysia.
Some interesting insights into Vietnam:
*Everyone is a millionaire!! That’s because their money is the second most devalued currency in the world, with 1 US dollar trading at about 21,000 dong! Most notes are in thousands, & hundreds of thousands – keeping track of all the zeros can be difficult. Also unusual: there are no coins in circulation at all & the smallest note is 100 dong – about US 5 cents.
*Hardly anyone speaks English, or any other language other than Vietnamese. This led to numerous misunderstandings such as getting on the wrong bus, or paying an obviously over-inflated price because we couldn’t communicate. A few times we were given an ultimatum to either pay the ‘tourist price’ or to ‘stand up’, (get down from the bus in the middle of the highway!)
*We saw plenty of several unknown fruits, vegetables & unidentified types of seafood, but the biggest surprises were to see dog meat for sale in the markets & roasted alligators put in front of seaside restaurants to attract customers!
*In the coastal city of Vung Tau, we visited a replica of the famous statue of Jesus with outstretched arms that is normally associated with Rio de Janeiro. Although not as tall, the Vietnam version claims to be at a higher altitude than that of its Brazilian counterpart!
Part of our reason for visiting Malaysia, besides doing charity work in the orphanages & handicapped centres, (as we’ve done on previous visits), is to take care of our serious medical problems. Sue needs major physiotherapy for her left arm, after a fall in Fiji last December. I, Peter, have been in a lot of pain the last few months due to disc problems in the neck & have just undergone titanium implant surgery that we hope will resolve the situation. Please keep us in your prayers as things are very difficult at the moment.
To finish off with, here is a very recent photo from our good friends, John & Heather, in Australia, showing the boxes of books that they are preparing to send to us in Fiji when we get back! (Sorry, we spent half an hour trying to rotate this to ‘vertical’ but didn’t succeed!)