Posted by: allisonbarnes | June 15, 2011

Vietnamese Coaches Introduce American Coaches to their College Town

Can Tho reminds me a little of Chapel Hill. There are a bunch of people walking around with lots to do, but it isn’t too congested like Ho Chi Minh. We arrived to the city a little after 7 p.m. and went straight to dinner. There was pizza on the menu so each American coach ordered a large pizza of their choice for about 40.000 VND (approximately $2.00 USD). I personally did not have any trouble eating my entire pie by the end of the night.

The pizza gave us our second wind as we all wanted to go out and explore the city. What we thought would be a quiet bar turned out to be an all-out techno dance club. With the tunes blaring, the strobe lights flashing, and a vacant dance floor, all of the coaches hit the floor and remained there for the majority of the night.

CFC 2 Reunion

We started a small battle on the dance floor amongst each other, showing off our best “American” dance moves: the sprinkler, the robot, and the electric slide. It was a great time. What made the night even more special for me was that my friends from last year came to visit! It was so good to see Thao, Ai, Tu, and everyone else again. It was hard to chat with the music blaring but just seeing them with a smile and being able to give them a hug was more than I thought I’d ever get to do again.

Once we woke up Saturday morning we headed to our first coffee bar, which was partly covered and partly outside. From our table we could see the streets of Can Tho and behind my seat was a palm tree that reached the second floor that we were on. After breakfast we hit the market, where I recognized many of the vendors from last year. I remembered which ones were hard to bargain with and tried to steer clear from them. I didn’t buy much as I had bought out the market the previous year; however, I did walk away with “Burberry” scarf.

The most memorable part of the weekend was when all the girls hit the spa. We had to split up into groups with Emily, Colleen and Morgan going first while Kendall, Ashley, Ryan and I went to a café next door. If you ever visit Can Tho definitely go to a local café. I had a little bit of a sweet craving and ordered a bac xiu da (sweet milk with a little coffee) and had ice cream for lunch… very tasty!

We went back to the spa and the group before us still hadn’t finished. When we went up to our rooms, we found all three girls wrapped in plastic.  They had ordered the mud massage and had been lying in a cocoon of plastic for about 20 minutes. We decided to opt out of the mud and stick with a traditional hour massage. The massage was amazing and was much needed. All the girls felt rejuvenated and ready for another night of dancing. It also didn’t hurt that it cost us a whopping 110.000 VND, or about $6.00 USD.

All of the American Coaches after dinner.

Dinner was at the restaurant that was connected to the market we went to earlier in the day. The scenery at this place would easily have an hour wait on a Saturday night in the States, but our group of 20 had the place to ourselves. I finished my vegetables with noodles and ordered a dessert I call the “Morgan.” Morgan and I wanted to try a little bit of everything so we asked to combine four of the most appealing options on the menu. The dessert consisted of a crape filled with vanilla ice cream and slices of banana topped with chocolate. Delicious.

On Sunday we ate breakfast at a restaurant that is known for phở, a traditional Vietnamese dish. We then hit the local DVD store before heading back to Thuan Hung, where Thao and Ai surprised me. Here I finally was able to chat with them without having techno tunes blaring in the background. They filled me in on the past year and what they will be up to during the summer.  Both will be directors in the following CFC camps. The Vietnamese students are lucky to have such amazing girls as directors, and I know they both will do a tremendous job!

I currently am sitting with Duong and Trinh in the director’s room, listening to Debussy while we grade the exams from last week. This makes me chuckle a little because I know if I ever were to become a teacher, I feel I’d have the exact same set-up as I currently do in Nam, minus my two sidekicks.

It’s crazy to think we’ve been here for 2 weeks. Some parts of me feels like I have been here for longer, as I’ve gotten so close with the coaches here.  However, another part of me remembers orientation day like yesterday with me running around nonstop scrambling to set-up everything in time for camp. But no matter what I think I still only have one more week in Thuan Hung. One more week with the students, coaches and my new little friends. My goal is to make this week the best one yet!

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  1. HI Allison,
    It is always so inspiring reading your entries.I love the way you write down everything that has happened together with your feeling about them.
    I have to say that it is a big luck for me to meet you in Vietnam and be your friend. You know what you have written down on the cover of the book “Water for Elephants” really encouraging. I read them to my Dad and he told me that I should appreciate that because the words themselves are more valuable than the present itself.
    Ah, how about the gift I gave you Friday evening? Hope you like it. I considered so long when choosing it.
    One final thing, it is so great being your friend. Keep in touch and wish you all the best things in this world 😀

    • Thanks Thao. I’m glad you like the book, email me if you have any questions about it! I loved your gift, very thoughtful, and thanks again for meeting me in Can Tho, I loved seeing you 🙂 Talk to you soon!!

  2. I have enjoyed the updates on the blog about what the group is doing and the way you describe the experiences I almost feel like I am there. I hope we can get updates about the group when you travel to Thailand. Good luck with the last day of camp and competition.

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