Monday, March 12, 2007

Visiting ITC and Chinatown

Saigon has a Chinatown called Cholon (Cho Loan, both hard o's). I was visiting the Information Technology College today which is in that part of the city. Two new friends, Mr. Nguyen Dinh Huong (center in pic) and Dr. Nguyen Tac Anh (right), took me out to lunch during a break from the conversations at ITC. They took me to Dam Sen, which I think can only be described as a Vietnamese amusement park. It was amusing to me anyway, that's for sure.

We had dinner under the canopy of this sea dragon. There were actually two of these, one on either side of a large dining area with a stage where apparently many weddings take place. It was only when I walked closer to the dragon's head and neck that I could see how it was constructed. Most of the scales are large dinner platters and tea cups are used for some of the smaller pieces such as the arms and such. I thought this was pretty funny, and quite unique. From a distance you would never know what it is made of.

Yes, they drink beer or wine with just about every meal, or at least every meal where I was involved, so you'll just have to get over it. "When in Saigon" applies just as well as "when in Rome." At least today it was only one beer at lunch and only one beer at dinner. You can read about the business part of the day here.

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