Yesterday the Vietnamese students entertained us with singing performances. I was amazed by not only their beautiful voices but how well they sang the words to American songs… I live in America and don’t even know the words to these songs (which is incredibly awkward when they excitedly invite you to sing along). Today during the Vietnamese language lesson we learned about the six different tones in the language, each sound changes the word’s meaning. I also learned that I am horrible at making the sounds of the different tones. However, I found a connection with the tones and singing, and I now have a new theory that the Vietnamese are all such good singers because they’re able to change their voices so flawlessly into six different tones. And to confirm my theory, I’m a horrible singer and of course had a very difficult and embarrassing time trying to hit the high and low tones.
The afternoon was definitely the highlight of my day. We took a break from our classes in a quaint coffee shop around the corner. It reminded me of the hipster coffee shops that are popping up in towns back at home rather than what I would expect of a traditional Vietnamese coffee shop. Later that day we had lunch at a restaurant called Tokyo Deli, we had to remove our shoes as we entered the eating space and sat at tables low to the ground. I was a little nervous when I was told that the dish was chosen for us in advance but was excited when I saw that the dish lacked animal eyes. It was traditional sushi… and ~omg~ it was amazing.
Finally, the day ended with a site visit to Phu My Hung; the company is a joint venture between Vietnam and Taiwan. They develop residential living spaces based upon a master plan that was created by a Californian architect. I wish I had counted the number of times the guide referred to the master plan because he sure did emphasize its importance. This master plan has a variety of housing options to attract a wide range of people. 60 percent of housing is estimated to be Vietnamese, and the remaining 40 percent is largely composed of Koreans but also contains residents of both Spanish and American speaking countries. The master plan has parks built into the design, and the company focuses on the greenery ratio to create a space that you may not get in the city. However, the environmental focus appears to stop here. When asked about what happens to the runoff rainwater at construction sites, the guide confidently explained that they don’t have to worry too much about it since they’re located right near a lake where the water can run off into. However, as we know this can be very bad for the biological life in the lake as it becomes infected with pollutants. Hopefully, throughout the years’ companies will become more educated on environmental impacts.