Loving Life

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ho Chi Minh for work and play...

Was in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) couple of days this week to attend the Commercial Bootcamp summit. Stayed at Caravelle Hotel centrally located in HCM's prime District 1. Hotel was so-so..at USD160 a night, a bit pricey but then again, Vietnam's economy is doing really well. Here's the view of the mighty Mekong river taken from my 19th floor room.

The first night, Ms Mai, my vietnamese colleague, along with Mr Tanth brought Mark and I out for a local Vietnamese meal. We had shrimp cakes, grilled pork, river fish, spring rolls and Mark was given him own bowl of noodles to satisfy his picky taste buds.

Day 1 of the event saw us taken out for team building sports. We were transported to the games venue through a boat journey down the Mekong..scenery was tranquil most of the way..but we started to feel the humidity soon into the hour-long boat ride..worse still, event organisers forgot to provide water on board..could it be they thought we could drink the lovely brown river water? :p

The boat docked at HCM's version of the spore botanic gardens..actually the setting was more reminiscent of Lake Titiwangsa in KL. Upon arrival at the playing field, we were greeted with the welcoming drums of a full brass band. Quite cool :). The team games were quite intense as there were 6 teams and everyone was quite competitive (in spite of the heat :P). I took part in 2 food challenges: Challenge #1 had me stuffing the most salty preseved egg which I honestly could not even bite much less swallow. Challenge #2 was less daunting - eating raw prawns topped with a LOT of vietnamese wasabi. I now know how potent wasabi can be..don't play play with the vietnamese version is my advice to anyone who thinks of trying it on.

In the end, Team Black - my team, got 2nd place..am proud we beat both Mark (red) and Cheryl's (blue) team :)))

That night, while walking around the streets near the hotel, we got to witness the Vietnamese Chinese New Year celebration. The streets were filled with tons of spectators and motorbikes..very atmospheric.


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