J is for... Jennieness
J is for... Jennieness
Coming back to reality from the best experience of your life so far, is pretty tough. But luckily coming back to it as an AP family of 9 made it that little bit easier. It’s hard to put into words how amazing our trip to Vietnam was, but apparently much easier for my lovely colleagues... Gone are the days of “what goes on tour, stays on tour”.
Vietnam. Land of the happy people and menus filled with egg coffee and stewed dog. Our adventure started the minute we got onto the plane and we realised that there is such a thing as a shortage of beer on a long haul plane. Did they not hear about Access Point before our arrival?
Well, actually to answer the above: Yes, Vietnam did hear of us, in fact we were greeted at the hotel in Hanoi with a huge banner above the doorway welcoming us into the country. At that moment I knew how amazing the trip was going to be. Due to us being away for two weeks, and something different happening every minute of every day, I’ve decided to give you my highlights of the trip;
Vast majority of our team knew that sharks are not attracted to aspartame in Diet Coke. Wish I had known about this ‘fact’ before I went kayaking, as I was downing my Diet Coke before we went in. After being warned that I would be attracting the sharks I quickly ran down deck to spray deodorant and perfume all over me to mask the aspartame smell. After leaving the boat to meet our kayak, I spent the whole 5 minute journey praying with sweaty palms that the sharks would not be around to sniff me out. Team AP 1 – 0 Jen.
Inspirational dances up next. At the end of each city we has visited, the local people would perform a song and dance either about their country, people or president for us. This sparked my inner entertainer and when passed the microphone in the local community hall I was *forced* to grace their ears with my lovely song. By forced I mean I hesitated for a millisecond before I was belting out Kelis Milkshake complete with shameless Dad dancing. I also spent a few of the other nights at the home stay performing my own interpretation of the dances to the team, I was in full Vietnamese character complete with props. Wasted talent.
Egg, cheese and Jam. Delicacy of the local Vietnamese people... Or not. Just our Dom deciding to make a breakfast concoction from everything on the table. Looked like he was enjoying it though.
Tuk tuk rides for 3 million dong. It was our second night in Hanoi and after a very satisfying meal on the roof top bar and restaurant myself and Claire decided that our legs would just not carry us back to the hotel, what with all the food and wine we had consumed. It was time for the ride of our lives. Slightly tipsy, we told the drivers where our hotel was and set off on the journey home. We decided it would be funny to race against Natasha & Amanda in our Tuk Tuks shouting ‘Didi didi’ (translation: ‘Faster Faster’ in Vietnamese). Half way round we manage to catch up with them and drive past a less than impressed Amanda who genuinely thought she was going to die. She shouted something angrily to us which only drove me to cheer our driver on more. We laughed so hard our stomachs hurt, that’s what it’s about.
Nothing like a bit of karaoke to wake the locals up with. It was the second to last night and after going for a meal washed down with a variety of beverages, we came across... A KAREOKE BAR. I was in my absolute element... I made a bee line for the lady singing who immediately passed me a spare microphone and off I went. It didn’t even matter that the whole song was in Vietnamese, I was loving it. Natasha heard us all the way from our hotel. The music finally stopped when they pulled the plug on us and told us to go to bed. That was a bit awkward.
Another game of Uno. For anyone reading this that has never had the pleasure of playing Uno – I strongly advise to buy yourself a pack. This game kept us entertained on a 4 hour journey from Hanoi to Mai Chau. The game where cheating becomes a rule and you find that one game everybody is your ally and the next, your enemy. 19 games down, and Dom still didn’t win.
Mental note to self: You are not very good at Kayaking. After having some practise of kayaking in Summer 2013, this automatically graded me at pro level (Claire too). We decided that this meant we should go in a kayak together. WORST. IDEA. EVER. I can pretend to blame the fact I thought the sharks were going to find me for my less than desired attempt at kayaking, but we managed to bash into every rock and cave there was in the water. At one point our tour guide even had to tie the rope from his boat to ours and rescue us. With the team having to wait for us to catch up every ten minutes, safe to say we were banned the next morning from going again. I particularly loved the end of this day where we got to jump off our boat into the sea, this was short lived due to a flip flop floating past me – that was it. I was outta there quicker than you could say Egg, Cheese and Jam.
There were too many funny and lovely memories that will stay with me for life, and I am so thankful that I got to go on this trip. To end my post, I will leave you with four things I learnt on the trip;
- Sagittarius & Eucalyptus are in fact not planets.
- I am no good at quizzes. Contributing to 1 out of 50 questions asked in our Tuesday quiz night at the home stay.
- Finally, ‘Vietnamese’ is not pronounced Viet-on-me-knees. This only makes you sound stupid, and everyone will laugh at you.
- The sacred animal in Vietnam is the ‘Cowcamel’ – a cow with humps on it’s back. Or just water buffalo if you prefer.
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