Good Morning, Vietnam!
The first two weeks in Vietnam have been full of many exciting and scary new adventures. After flying and traveling for 24 hours to get to Vietnam, the pace did not let up. Walking out of the airport, a wave of 95ºF heat and 60% humidity hit me. Instant sweat. I was so excited to get in the taxi to take a break, but as soon as the door shut, we jumped into traffic and started dodging motorbikes. I saw pictures on the internet about the traffic in Vietnam, but nothing could compare to the first-hand experience. The next morning, I encountered the bus system. This was probably the scariest thing I have done in a few years. Not only did I have to jump on the bus because it did not completely stop, but we were all crammed in like sardines. It was only two weeks later that I actually enjoyed riding the bus. Although the trip is only 5 miles, it takes approximately 1to 1½ hours. However, every day, I see something new.
After conquering the bus and walking through moving traffic, I toured Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Trường Đại học Bách Khoa. Touring the labs on campus made me realize how much I took for granted while working at Mississippi State University. Many times in the lab, I complained about not having new equipment or not having things of convenience. The students here are very conservative and conscience of limited supplies while working in the labs. In addition, most the classrooms and labs do not have air conditioning. None of the students minds the heat, but I struggle with it. So far, all of the students that are working on the project are amazing! They are all so helpful and have been translating many words for me. They also show me all of the great places to eat around campus. My favorite food so far is ”phở tái”, beef noodle soup, which costs approximately 20,000 to 40,000 VND (Vietnam Dong) or $1.00 to $2.00 for a huge bowl.
Within these past two weeks, I have learned tons about the culture and language in Vietnam. I am very positive about my upcoming project. Although I am not in a state of the art lab, I am so thankful that the professors and students at the university are willing to help make what is available work. The project starts December 29th with the first round of sampling and analytical testing. Hopefully, all will go well!
Made in America,
If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?