Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
167Trip End Ongoing
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This Immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free."
Ho Chi Minh in 1945
I took a group of 16 girls and 4 teachers to Vietnam to do a Duke of Edinburgh walk.
We arrived in Hanoi, got the train to Sapa, walked, came back to Hanoi, got the bus to Halong Bay and then finished in Hanoi
On my last night in Hanoi I went into a shop selling DVDs. The girl selling the DVDs was an 18 year old Vietnamese girl who was working part time to put herself through university, where she was learning about tourism. She was very polite and concerned that I didn't pay too much. She feared that some people in the tourist areas in Vietnam didn't give a fair price to the tourists, so she ensured I paid in VND instead of US$ so the exchange rate was better. She was very nice and I spoke to her for a while. She has two more years before she finishes her studies and then she may work as a tour guide for a while before getting a job in organisation or reception. I agreed to send her any tourists that want a tour of Hanoi as she would make a great guide. She hasn't got her guiding license yet, but would be OK just for small tours in Hanoi. I tried to give her a tip but she wouldn't take it. Even when I said she could give it to her mum. She gave me a mandarin as I left.
Later I went back to get her email so I could send her anyone that wants a tour guide in Hanoi. Please let me know if you are interested.
I found out that her mother was in Russia working selling food to get money for her family and had been there for 3 years and is not sure when she will come back. The family misses her a lot. Her mother had taught her to never take money that she didn't deserve and always rely on herself, so she still wouldn't take the tip. She showed me her diary so as I could check her English. In it, she had written about meeting me and giving me her only mandarin. She was such a sweet girl and although a bit nicer than most, in many ways very typical of Vietnamese people.