i (i) wrote,

i spoke quite a bit with the guide yesterday. an interesting bit of information:

he wants to be a teacher in his hometown, which is very poor. he attended university, which is very expensive. i don't know how he paid for it. the thig is, to get any job of significance over here, you must pay a bribe. for a teaching job, that amounts to 30 million dong, or about $2000. it would take him 10 years to make that much as a teacher, so he is working in the tourist industry, where he can make that much in 3 years. he may never be a teacher, though, because saving that much is prohibitive.

this morning, for the first time, a vietnamese person came up to me and started a conversation just to be friendly. i was taking pictures of a tree by the lake which was shedding beautiful red blossoms, and a 57 year old man (war age) came up and started the conversation by asking "do you know what we call that tree?" it was very warm, and ended with a smile and handshake. i think the name of the tree was something like "lum thoc".

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