Trip Start May 12, 2012
22Trip End Jun 12, 2012
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I really don't understand why I had to become a millionaire when i visited an ATM - The Vietnamese money is more confusing because there are too many zeros. Imagine paying for a drink of Ca Phe ( coffee) with a 500,000 note which is blue like the 20,000 note. The first is $25 and the last is $1.
I had a couple of neat experiences in the last few days .. A little boy about 6 kept me company while I waited in a cafe and I showed him how to play angry birds on my iPad. His face was a real picture and surprisingly he was worse at the game than me :)
Today I was walking around the backpacker district of Hanoi filling in time before my ride to the airport. I went into a souvenir shop and the girl chatted away to me and finally gave me her sweet croissant as a gift for my trip home. It was really good. The people are open and friendly and I enjoyed interacting with them. On the down side I became increasingly aware of the " forced labour camps" aka sweat shops. These are factory buildings with a perimeter wall covered with broken glass or barbed wire and a securely guarded entrance. I hear that the workers are paid very little but for most it's the choice of this or living off the streets. They don't get up to 50% of their earnings as a "bonus" until the end of their contract and are charged for living expenses directly from their wages so they live in this voluntary prison - this happens in Phomn Pehn also.
I won't miss the garbage and the filth, the cellphones and the noise,the begging and the hawkers. It has made me realize why people from these countries want to get a fresh start in Canada.