Wednesday 17th February 2016

Planning for the Vietnam trip is amping up, as is the group’s anticipation for the adventure. Our focus this term has been organising our passports, visa applications, and immunisations to prepare.

Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night

Melissa Bell held a wonderful seminar in week 2, giving us the heads up to ensure we are all prepared. From first aid requirements and gear lists, to crossing the road in Vietnamese cities, which is a little different from Dunedin. We also had an introduction to the delicious Vietnamese cuisine and were given useful names to learn:

  • Chicken - ga

  • Beef - bo

  • Pork - heo

  • Dog - cho

  • Prawn - tom

  • Fish - ca

Ms Bell gave us an overview of two the locations we will visit, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hoi An. In Ho Chi Minh city, we will go on a guided cyclo tour and visit the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral, the French Post Office, the Palace and experience the Ben Than Market. Historical sites of note in Ho Chi Minh City will be the War Museum and trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Our stay here will end with an evening in one of the best Vietnamese cooking schools.

Hoi An, a world heritage site, is located in the coastal Quang Nam province and known for its beautiful lanterns and Japanese covered bridge. Good for shopping, this is where the students will have an opportunity to get tailored suits made. Hoi An also forms the base for our day trip to the village of My Lai, the site of a 1968 massacre by the US Charlie Company, an event studied in NCEA level 2 history.

If you are interested in the history of Vietnam, try the following books and films:

Recommended books:

  • Andrew Pham - Catfish and Mandala

  • Pam Scott - Hanoi Stories and Life in Hanoi

  • D V M Elliott - The Sacred Willow - Four Generations of a Vietnamese Family

  • M Coffey - Three Moons in Vietnam

  • T O’Brien - The Things They Carried

  • G Greene - The Quiet American

Recommended films:

  • Vietnam war movies: Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Good Morning Vietnam, Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill, Born on the Fourth of July

  • Indochine

  • The Quiet American

  • Three Seasons

  • Heaven and Earth

  • Journey from the Fall