Bruce’s Wild Ride

I had the unique thrill of riding on the back of a motorbike through the old quarter the other night. Zooming through those ancient, narrow, twisting streets was like something from a Disneyland ride except that it was real!

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Thursday Night With Students

The other night a group of my students picked me up on their motorbikes and took me out for a very fun evening of street food and beer in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The place they took me is apparently well known and was packed. They literally put out a bunch of little plastics stools in the street right by where the motorbikes were zipping past and then the beer and food just started showing up! It was a wonderful experience to be able to join the students in a typical evening of “hanging out” and to get to know them better.

Another great day in Hanoi!

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B Section Class

Here is the second of the two sections I teach …

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A Section Class

I am teaching two sections of my class on alternating days – seven three-hour classes for each section to be followed by a final exam. Today I did a “double session” day, teaching a three-hour session in the morning followed by one in the afternoon. The unusual scheduling is because the University is closed next week on Monday and Tuesday for New Years so I will be off teaching for a four-day weekend!

Here a couple pictures of my A Section class from this morning. Can you find me in there?

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Hanoi Flash Mob

I was walking across campus after class this afternoon and I came upon a group of young people dancing in the street that cuts through the middle of campus.  As I was videoing them, they seemed very curious about me and were taking pictures of me while I was videoing them.  After they finished dancing three of the young people came over to me and explained that they were with a charity that did this once a week to encourage people to volunteer to donate blood!  After a delightful short conversation, they asked if they could take their picture with me.

Hanoi never ceases to surprise me!

 

 

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Hotel Surprise Birthday Party

After returning from our big birthday lunch banquet, we returned to the room and Mary at the front desk told us that they were just finishing cleaning our rooms and asked us to wait in the lobby a few minutes.  When they told us that the room was ready, we took the elevator to the 8th floor and went into the room only to be surprised by seeing pretty much the whole hotel staff jammed into the room which was decorated with balloons and other birthday decorations.  They presented me with a nice cake and bottle of wine and sang me happy birthday.  It is such a pleasure to stay at a small boutique hotel where the entire staff knows your name and treats you like part of the family!

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Birthday Party

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday in Hanoi.  Surely, this was one of my most unique and memorable birthdays!  Nancy, Michael, and I were treated to a wonderful birthday lunch at a very nice Vietnamese buffet-style restaurant in the upscale West Lake region of Hanoi, by my host Minh and her family.  I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and two wonderful books about Vietnam and its arts.

Minh, Nancy, and Michael:

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Minh’s husband Tuan and their younger son Duc

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Hang, me, Duc, and Minh

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Nancy and Michael

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Hotel Christmas Party

After attending a French-language Roman Catholic Christmas Eve mass in a 19th Century cathedral in Hanoi (how’s that for a unique experience!), we had a nice dinner in a rooftop cafe overlooking Hoan Kiem lake in the center of the city and then headed back to the hotel where we had been told the staff had a little Christmas eve gathering planned for the guests.

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Christmas Eve in Hanoi

Here on Christmas Eve, it’s 5:30 PM and large crowds are starting to form outside the Cathedral a couple of hours before the first service. We’re going to the French language service because we don’t think we can stay up until the English service at midnight.

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Dogs on motorbikes!

I have seen up to five people on one motorbike, but today was the first time I’ve seen not one, but two canine passengers!

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