Sunday, March 04, 2007

Starting Day One in Saigon

March2007 Vietnam 038.jpgMy first full day back in Saigon starts with a rooftop breakfast at the Majestic Hotel. Last time I was in Saigon I developed quite a taste for the guava and mango juices that they served at the hotel. Alas, the Majestic didn’t have those available in their otherwise very nice breakfast spread. They did have lots of great fresh fruit, so here is my second fruit picture in less than 12 hours.

They also have a great view of the Saigon River. I shot a short video of the river and street traffic that I will embed below.
(NOTE: I'll try to add the video here later. I made the major mistake of upgrading to Windows Media Player 10 this morning and now everything is screwed up. Gotta love Microsoft.)

I finished the relaxing breakfast with two cups of very strong Vietnamese coffee and reading the English language Saigon Times Daily. A few things caught my eye:

  • There are 250,000 Vietnamese living in Canada. Canadian colleges and universities have long recruited Vietnamese students to study in Canada. There are approximately 2,000 Vietnamese students studying in Canada right now. I’m here to try to get some of those students to go a little bit further south (not much). After all, there’s not that much difference between Canada and Minnesota – eh?
  • March2007 Vietnam 022.jpgI just missed a huge Chinese-Vietnamese Lunar New Year Cultural Festival that went on for several days and ended last night. The TV news reports made it look very cool. Wish I could have been there. The hotel has lots of colorful pigs on display … apparently it is now the year of the pig (my belly could have told them that).
  • The World Bank selected three projects from Vietnam for funding in the final round of their 2007 Global Development Marketplace Competition. The one that caught my eye was titled “Using your hands to talk about sex.” The other two “Development of Nursing in Vietnam” and “Enzymes and Empowerment” were not nearly as interesting. Perv.
  • Chinese lipsticks will be inspected after being found to contain a cancer-causing chemical.
  • ACNielsen ranks the five most popular websites in Vietnam: #1-Yahoo!, #2-VietnamNet (English version here),, #4-VnExpress, #5-Dan Tri. 51% of people surveyed in Vietnam use Yahoo web mail.
  • Babyvox Re.V is an all-girl Korean rock band that is very popular in Vietnam. It is easy to see why. Definitely a cross between the Bangles and the Go-Gos.
My first business appointment isn't until this afternoon, so I have a few hours to do my own thing this morning.

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