A Travellerspoint blog

A Day on the Town

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Since we decided to stay in Vinh this weekend, we figured we shouldn't just stay in the hotel reading and playing spades all day. Still distraught from our inability to watch Capote Friday night, we decided to roll out of the hotel and hit the streets. We went first to the local market, wandering through the fish section with all sorts of beautiful fish. Then we hit the meat department, which is always an adventure and usually leads to Kelli gagging once or twice. The market was dominated mostly by pig and its various parts. We saw the usually legs and ribs but also were lucky to see beautifully dissected hearts, kidneys, livers, small intestines, large intestines, ears and other not so identifiable parts waiting to be purchased and made up into a soup to be served to unsuspecting tourists.
On a more serious note, cruising the local markets has become one of my favorite things to do here. The strong smells, vibrant colors and loud shouts of merchants are pretty enchanting and intoxicating to me. While the conditions may not be cleanest, you can just tell that the meat and fish are incredibly fresh. You can see the huge variety of greens and fruits just waiting to be added to food to take it to the next level. Markets are very much the heart and soul of these communities.
After the market we headed to the internet cafe and then back to the hotel to gameplan for the rest of the day. Kelli wasn't too interested in lunch so I set out on my own and tried a place we had been to once earlier in the week. I got the same thing, noodles and BBQ pork, and went back to the hotel.
We decided to go for a walk, and after Kelli pointed in one direction, we set out. For some reason, we had it in our minds to find the MaxiMart that we passed on the way back into town from our Uncle Ho day. So we started wandering in the general direction we thought it was. Checking out the sights and trying to figure out where we will be matching for residency on March 19. We stopped at a school supply store to buy some dry erase markers for our English lessons and asked if they had a map of Vinh city. They did but it was quite large. Not that I could stick out anymore than I alrady do but I figured standing at an intersection looking at a huge map of the city would privde the locals with more laughs than I was already allowing them so we soldiered on directionless.
Not much later we passed a photo shop and after furiously looking for the words to passport and photo we stopped to ask if we could have photos made since we need them to get into Cambodia. The lady was thrilled to help and spent a good bit of time positioning Kelli's head just at the right angle before she was happy with the results. It took her less time to get a pic of me, but then she edited it some to remove the scruffy and sparse facial hair (which by the way puts Spencer's erratice facial hair pattern to shame) We seemed to make her day, so energized by yet another successful interaction with the locals we carried on our search for the MaxiMart. We wound up turing around without success and catching a cab back to the hotel. We made it home just in time to watch the rest of Capote pretty much at the exact point we were so rudely cut off from the night before. We then ventured out for a meal of Chao Ga at a place we had not been to since our first week in town.
Then it was back to get ready for a night of watching the locals sing.

All in all a good day. We are excited to continue work on our asthma project and another one on infectious diseasee this week and we have also started planning our vacation part of the trip. We will be flying to Saigon on Saturday and the next day we will be going to the Mekong Delta for a tour of the floating markets, a bike ride, a cooking class hopefully, and a home stay before leaving on March 3rd for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. The it is on to the beaches of Thailand.

Posted by Kellrad 10:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Our busted Friday night

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So this weekend Conrad and I decided not to take a fun road trip, mainly because we felt bad about always leaving Vinh and the doctors we work with, who always want to take us to do things. So, we decided since it was our last full weekend in the Vinh area we would stick around. One of the cardiologists invited us to his home village about 80 km away, so we figured we would do that. Yesterday he told us he thought it would be too boring and that we should stay in town. Also, several of the doctors went to Laos this weekend, so even fewer people are in town to hang out with.

We didn't have any plans for last night, so we did our norm - dinner at a street place (our favorite pho place), internet checking, and tv. We were actually looking forward to tv last night because the only English speaking channel we get (that usually shows old American sitcoms, like Early Edition) was showing a movie that neither of us had seen - Capote. We start watching the movie, and maybe 20 mins into it (after Conrad had already decided the protagonists' voice was annoying), we lost cable signal for JUST THAT ONE STATION. It was horrible. This has never happened before, and it was just hilarious and not funny at the same time. We had nothing else to do on this Friday night. I already destroyed Conrad at yet another games of Spades, and we both started the last books we have to read on the trip (I have now read 4 books). So, we called it an early evening which counteracted our "trying to sleep in" this morning. Oh well.

Today we don't have much planned, especially not since it is raining/drizzling. This is the first rain we have seen on our entire trip, and it is actually quite nice. at least it has dropped the temperature a few degrees. We will likely go read, play Spades (Conrad doesn't know too many card games, and I am trying to change that, since I love cards), watch tv, and go explore some new parts of Vinh. This evening we have been invited to a musical and dance show put on by all the local hospitals' staffs. We will take pic and report on that later.

Posted by Kellrad 19:24 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

An eventful day

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We spent most of the morning working on an infection control checklist for Project Vietnam and also making some English lessons for our doctor friends here. Alot of the doctors we sometimes work with in the hospital went to Laos for a long weekend trip, so they were absent from the hospital today.

At about 10:45am two of our friends said, "we are going to a wedding. you need to change." So we hurried home to change and got picked up for the 11am wedding. One of the neonatologist doctors got married, conveniently during the lunch break of the hospital. The place was PACKED. Probably about 200 people in the main reception room, but since we arrived late (11:10) we had to sit in the foyer. It didn't matter to us, since we had no idea what was going on, and there was surely a party out in the foyer (about 50 people there). We sat at a table, and to Conrad's stomach's enjoyment, several plates of food were brought to our table. a great assortment of meat, veggies, and other Vietnamese dishes (spring rolls! so yummy and I was beginning to think I would never eat them in Vinh). And of course no Vietnamese celebration would be complete without pounding down some beers. Luckily I played girl today and didn't have to chug 7 beers like Conrad did. Keep in mind, all this eating and drinking was maybe in 40 mins time. Basically the whole hospital and many more people were there, and whenever someone we knew came to our table, Conrad had to drink a beer "100%" in honor of the "happy, funny" marriage. I say "happy, funny" because thats how they describe marriages here. And yes, today was in deed happy and funny.

In the afternoon, Conrad and I spent some time on the cardiac floor. When we packed for Vietnam, we brought some toys and mardi gras beads for the kids at the schools. At that time, I had NO idea the school visits would be for 400+ kids, and we definitely dont have enough beads for all of them. So instead we decided we would bring the toys and beads to kids in the hospital, and we started with the cardiac kids. It was like we were Santa. We delivered all the beads and toys we had to patients (and a few nurses asked for beads), and it was awesome. All the kids smiled, parents and siblings were happy, and the environment on the floor was just completely different after we did that. It turned out that the silver beads were a dud because so many kids came up to trade them in for gold or pink or green. Eventually some kids had to take the silver ones...we had fun doing it, and the cardiologist we work with frequently was very happy we did that. When we left the hospital around 5, one of the ladies selling fruit or water outside the hospital yelled to us, gestured to her neck and held out her hand. Apparently the word got around about the beads, but unfortunately we had no more with us.

All in all, it was a great day. Happy and funny ;-)

Posted by Kellrad 04:35 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

More pics!

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-We have uploaded more pics so check them out.

-We have just finished our thrid week here in Vinh and we will be spending the weekend here in town. We thought we may be going to the family home of one of the cardiologists that we work with but he decided that we would be too bored and the logisitics of getting us both there were a little difficult he thought. He goes just about every weekend and takes his motorbike for the 90km drive. So we will be here for the weekend and are trying to figure out what to do. Kelli is down to her last book and so am I. After the River Why, I read Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. I have been on a kick of his lately and this one was another well written and disturbing story. Now I am reading Lenin, Stalin and Hitler which will be atougher read but I am 100 pages in and already enjoying it. As a history major in college, I tried to focus on the Civil War and don't kniow many details about this gruesome history but I like Communists even less having started this book.

-We have really enjoyed our time here in Vinh and have learned so much. We are both getting a little restless though. Ready to head down to the delta and get on with the vacation part of the trip (rough life, I know)

-This may sound pretty bad, but yesterday we decided to buy some Noodles in a cup for dinner. Besides the cafe in the hospital, there are really two places we feel comfortable eating given my experience with what I now believe to be pigeon that is in the photo. One serves pho, fried rice and a noodle dish. Its close and delicious but you can only eat three different things so many times. The other place is this "fast food" place that is yummy but it is a 25 minute walk. Since no on here speaks English, there are no menus, and the food section of our ohrasebook is woefully inadequate we are hesitant to try new places lest I wind up with a whole bird in my meal again. Yesterday we branched out and after shaking our heads at pig parts we couldn't identify and liver looking stuff we settled on some tasty BBQ pork and soup. Good but not very filling. So Kelli came up with the idea of getting a bowl of ramen noodles. So we went to our local grocery and bought a couple things of Kobe (that's right, Kobe) beef flavored noodles. Surprisingly delicious. We are determined to try some more places before we leave.

-The friendliness of the people here still blows me away, but at times I find myself getting annoyed with the staring. I am sure that I, a tall skinny white kid, am the talk of the town and everyone gets exited to see us. I know the staring is harmless and all but when guys just stare at you for an entire meal or, as one kid did yesterday, stand over your shoulder while you're on the computer, it gets kind of annoying. Then I remeber how welcoming they are and I say "Jow" (hello) and they smile and back away

-Again the lack of resources at a pediatric hospital surprises me. The only ECG machine here has been broken for four months and they cannot get a replacement. As my dad pointed out, there are likely many other places with worse off resources, but it still has been a surprise to me. A country that prides itself so much on its people ought to put the health of its children at the forefront. Maybe they just don't have the resources so who knows. At times I just wish I were Bill Gates (the version from pre-economic collapse) and I could just sponsor this hospital, but I take pride in handing out beads and making kids smile.

-Time to run, we're watching Capote tonight on the TV. Sadly the audio on HBO at our hotel is blacked out so we watch the Asian Network which mercifully is in English.

Posted by Kellrad 01:41 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

In the hospital today

semi-overcast 85 °F

This morning in the hospital was pretty busy. We decided to spend it in the ER?PICU since we had not been there in some time. We wanted to check on the kid who was in the moto accident and looked to be pretty bad so we could see his CT. The boy was still on a ventilator, his right pupil was dilated and not responsive still and the right side of his body was paralyzed (all not very good signs). The CT showed a decent sized cerebral bleed. Not a great prognosis for him. We talked briefly about managing closed head injuries with one of the doctors and suggested that they raise his head a little bit to help, but they didn't seem too convinced that was a right thing to do. He definitely didn't have a quiet, non-stimulating environment. The doctors were doing the best that they could do with the resources they had however.
We also saw a new patient, a toddler, who had a newly diagnosed tumor in his cerebellum. he lived outside of Vinh and when he starting walking funny and falling down his mom brought him to the hospital where he was on the floor of the hospital until he started having trouble breathing so he was sent to the PICU for ventilation. The doctors told us that they did not have the resources to properly treat the patient. It was obvious that this patient had the tumor for quite some time as it was large and the ventricles in the brain were huge so the prognosis may have even been poor back in the states. But the doctors could do nothing more and said that the child would die soon. The mother was on the next bed crying while we were examining the patient. Less than an hour later when we passed back by the room, the patient was gone. He had been taken home by his mother so that he could die in peace surrounded by his family.
On a brighter note we also saw another patient (newborn) whop was on a ventilator due to respiratory distress. From our difficult understanding of the doctors Englishhe suspected a traceoesophageal fistula because the baby would have bubbles come out of it mouth when breathing and it's abdomen was distended. So we went with the baby to the radiology depratment to watch a contrast study being performed. The baby was set up on the table (after a little resuscuitation since the ventilator was not portable) and then in a flurry of feet and rapid fire Vietnamese shouts, we all scampered out of the room (excpet for the dad and respiratory therapist) while we shot the films. After one failed attempt, the second try successfully showed a TEF and we brought the patient back to the PICU and called surgery.
On the way back in we saw a kid squatting by the door relieving himself number 2 style...
All in all, a somber, exciting, slightly humorous day...

-Some concerning holes in medical education are becoming more appraent to me. While all of the doctors are extremely bright and eager to work, they just have not had a solid foundation in school it seems. One of the ER/PICU doctors told us that he is scared every time he is on call because he has no training in life support (CPR, etc...) which is a critical part of training in the ER and PICU. We were also asked today if we could help set ventilator settings, which if you know us like Dr. Finger knows us, would be a scary thought for you.
-On another sad note, it seems that we will not be able to make another trip to the schools. Two doctors went to another school today to distribute the surveys. We didn't know about it or we would have gone since we loved our trip yesterday. But we are going to ask if we can go again next week.
-We continue to really enjoy our time here in Vinh but we are becoming more and more eager to explore the Mekong Delta and move on to Cambodia and Thailand for the 'vacation' part of the trip
-I was happy to see that the Tyson Chandler trade got vetoed but also still sad that my favorite Saint ever is no longer on the team. So long Deuce.

-Conrad

Posted by Kellrad 01:44 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Emergent radiology and other sad stories

Over the last week or so, the hospital has been a crazy busy place. The outpatient labs and procedure areas have been packed, the hospital registration waiting area is a zoo, and the floors are full of patients. When we spent our first week and a half in the NICU and PICU/ER, both were averaging about 15 patients a day. Now both have 25 patients a day. The PICU/ER has four kids on ventilators, and they are all very bad off.

We were introduced to a 15 month old boy with a just diagnosied cerebellar tumor. A horrible story that resulted because the mom didn't think the problems were grave enough to seek medical help, or maybe she didnt have the money to get into Vinh (she lives 60 km away) to get help. This boy was perfectly healthy from birth and developed normally. Starting walking at 11 months, then by 12 months was off balance on his feet and frequently fell. Mom described the off balance nature persisting for another month, and then it seemed like the child did not have enough strength in his legs to walk at all. 3 days ago she brought him to our hospital and he was admitted to neuro. His neuro exam showed minimal reflexes, so they sent him down the street for a head CT, which showed a large cerebellar tumor. Within his 3 days in the hospital, he lost all of his reflexes, including his pupillary light reflex, and started having respiratory distress and was put on a ventilator last night. The ER attending told us neurosurgery said the tumor and clinical presentation was too advanced for surgery, so there was nothing they could do. An hour later, we noticed the patient was gone. Upon inquiring about where the patient went, we were told by the attending that he was discharged to die at home. I hope he makes it home. I dont even know if he will make it the 60 km drive. His mom was given a bag mask to pump herself in the car. Absoutely heartbreaking.

We also checked in on the young boy who had a closed head injury from the moto accident the other day. He was still in a coma with GCS now up to a 6 (from a 4) and a bit more writhing movements on his left side (right side paralyzed). His right pupil was still blown and neither responded to light. We looked at his head CT, which showed a left sided pretty large cerebral hemorrhage and maybe a small bleed on the right, no fractures. They are medically managing him with hyperventilation (f=35) and mannitol. Thats about it. I mean, all the other standard stuff, but in terms of closed head injury management they havent done much. When I asked about raising the head of the bed some, one doctor told me it was already done (he has a thin sheet under his head) and the other doctor told me it was not his patient. Again, heartbreaking. We talked a bit about closed head injury management and cerebral edema (luckily, I have learned this from the best, and have some good experience in it from my stint in the PICU), but the doctor said they just don't have the recources. They have nothing to control body temperature or even 3% saline, and they sure as heck cannot maintain a "minimal stimulation area" when the kid is sharing a room with other very sick children and their large families.

We have another patient on the ventilator, this one is just a week or so old. A post-term baby who had apparently had birth asphyxia, was doing better, but then went into respiratory failure last night after feeding. Given the history, the doctors wanted to evaluate for a tracheoesophageal fistula. He ordered an emergent radiological exam with contrast. 30 mins after ordering it, the radiologist arrived at the hospital to do the exam. All of a sudden our attending said, "ok, let's go." Then, moments later there were people yelling, and two nurses holding the baby and bagging the baby (giving him some oxygen via a bag mask) and swiftly walking down the hall, out across the hospital's playground area and into the radiology room. No transport bed, nada. The attending yelled, and the three patients who were in line for radiology procedures were kicked out of the room. They got the baby ready for the study. There were so many people in the room, maybe 16 total (our attending, us, the radiologists, maybe 2 icu nurses, the parents, a radiology tech, and maybe some nursing students). The gave the baby contrast and ran us all out of the room. Well, all but the baby's dad and one nurse who had to stay and bag the baby. No lead protective vests were worn by anyone. Actually I didnt see anything of that sort. They just gave the contrast, yelled, and took the image. Then there was some more yelling by the head radiologist, some slapping of the arm of the radiology tech, and we went into the room to see the most blue baby I have ever seen in my entire life. it was horrible. he was barely moving, they rehooked him up to the vent, and it took some time before he even gave a hint of pink. The mom was crying, and I was the only one who even acknowledged that. It was horrible. They got the baby pink again, rolled it to its side, and did it all again. A little less yelling this time, but still the dad and nurse got the brunt of the radiation. After another round of this, we finally got a film that showed the contrast and an apparently tracheoesophageal fistula. Then they wrapped the baby up in a blanket, yelled some, ran it across the playground and back into the ICU room. Meanwhile, the mom had to stay and clean off the radiology bed and room. It was unreal.

So our morning was not uplifting in any regards. It was frustrating to see the care of medicine really hindered by the limitation of resources. I know I have commented on their "doing what they can do with what they have" before, but today I felt like they could do so little for their patients. In the States, I think it would have been a very different day.

Posted by Kellrad 23:34 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

They sure love their Uncle Ho

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After visiting Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, I knew that Ho Chi Minh (or as everyone likes to refer to him, "Uncle Ho") is a revered national leader. The Vietnamese worship everything that he did for their country and culture, and I perfectly understand that - bringing about a country's independence is no easy task. Today we learned a lot more about Uncle Ho and the power he has over the Vietnamese people.

Dr. Van Tu, the hospital's medical director, rented us a driver and gave 5 of the doctors (all in the "English Club" that we give medical English lessons at in the afternoons) the day off from hospital duties. Instead, their job was to take us around the greater Vinh area and show us the culture that surrounds us. We went to the nearby beach, Cao Lo, about 15 km from town. It is apparently packed during the summer holiday season, but today looked rather dismal. There were a ton of hotels lining the main street though. Our van was chased down by women wanting us to go eat at their restraurants. We visited the beach that maybe had 20 people on it (all digging for clams or crabs). The doctors asked us if we wanted to go swimming, but since they were all in business suits and were not going, we also passed. Conrad and I waded in the water though, and it was suprisinly warm to me. Warmer than in Halong Bay. It was funny to watch the 3 male doctors because they were in nice suits and nice dress shoes, but none of them wanted to take their shoes off. They just walked along the moist sand with their shoes. They had fun though.

After the beach they took us to lunch in Vinh. On the way to the restaurant they asked us if we have ever tried goat, which neither Conrad nor I had before. So i figured we were bound to try it at lunch, and I was not wrong. The place was nice (very upscale compared to the other Vinh restaurants we have visited) and packed. We let them order and the food kept coming. We started with shots of "vietnamese wine" which Silly Me thought would actually be wine this time, since we were in a fancy restaurant. Oh no, it was vodka yet again. A few shots of that pre-lunch...then they asked us if we wanted some blood soup. They explained, it was made from the freshly killed goat's blood. We both passed on it...I know, where's our adventure, but I will post a picture of it soon, and you will see the congealed nature of it. But they topped it with peanuts to make it look much nicer. Anyway, I passed. Only a few of them ate it because they thought it was gross, so I didnt feel so bad. They brought us 3 meat dishes, 2 soups, and some vegetables. All of the meat dishes were different parts of the goat. One was quite tasty actually (spicy and tender), another was ok (a bit tougher) and the goat stomach - well I let Conrad eat that one. It looked just like stomach in slivers.

After lunch we went to Nam Dan and Kim Lien, the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh and his mother's hometown. We climbed 100 stairs to pay homage to Uncle Ho's grandmother, grandfather, and mother's tombs. At each one, we left incense and bowed three times. It was quite an experience to watch how the visit affected each of them. While at the site, 3 of the doctors bought big Uncle Ho busts for their house. Another bought pictures for his room. After that we visited Kim Lien, the village town where Uncle Ho and his family lived as children. It was a few small wicker-type cottages with of course a memorial to Uncle Ho. There everyone seemed to buy unripened guavas because they are cheaper out in the country side. Lastly, we visited the Kim Lien Ho Chi Minh museum, which was more like a temple and cottage site. Within it, a large memorial to Uncle Ho, which we left 3 bunches of flowers at. We again worshipped and learned about Ho Chi Minh. Here there were some English subtitled pictures, which was more fun for us since alot is lost in translation with the doctors. at this site, two of the doctors bought rubber sandals that are replicas of what Uncle Ho wore his whole life. They were ecstatic at their purchase.

We had a great day, learned alot, and really got better insight on the Vietnamese culture. We drove in the neighboring countryside and saw many Vietnamese people at hard work out in the rice paddies. It was a good day!

Posted by Kellrad 03:52 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Visiting the schools

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Today was the first day we visited a local school. We finalized all of the questions on our asthma survey yesterday, and today we went to a school right near where we live. We went with 24 health professionals from our hospital (14 nurses, 4 doctors, some medical engineers, and administrative people). It was awesome to learn that our asthma project is such a big deal for the hospital & community that they sent so many of their employees to come with us, even if they were there a short time.

In case you are wondering the survery asks questions about asthma symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain) in a variety of conditions. It asks about school absences for these symptoms and hospital admissions. It also asks about environmental triggers (smoke, pets, weather, pollution) and whether there is a family history of problems. It asks about associated conditions (food allergy, urticaria, eczema). It covers alot. Kids are supposed to go over it with their parents, then we answer questions, get more of a history about them, etc.

The school was pretty big. They said 700-900 students. We visited 24 classrooms, grades 6-9. Each classroom had 40-45 kids and one teacher in it. All dressed in uniforms but with some creativity allowed. It seemed to me that each classroom had some sort of spokesperson in it because our doctors introduced the survey to everyone, then asked who the classroom attendant was. All the kids would point at one person, that person would stand, and then that student recited back to everyone their instructions. It was an interesting dynamic to observe.

Conrad and I both were swarmed by children while we were there. Kids ran out of their lessons to check us out, more him than me because he is just so tall and easy to stare at. They chased us throughout the school grounds to say hello, goodbye, hi, how are you, how old are you, do you like vietnam, where are you from, what is your favorite color, how many people are in your family, etc. Seriously it was a battery of questions, all in good spirit. It seemed they were more excited about getting the words out of their mouths than listening to our answers, but I am perfectly happy hanging out with kids and getting them to smile and giggle at me or themselves. It was a ton of fun. It was funny because I tried to talk to as many kids as possible (when they werent in class), but this one kids just kept pushing through the group following me to ask a new question. He had several questions written on a piece of paper and just wanted to get through the list. When it was time to leave, I really felt like the paparazzi were chasing me! "Don't go! Come back again!" I had a blast and was sad to leave the school. Luckily we are going back tomorrow to get the surveys and go over them more with the kids.

To following up on an earlier post, I learned today that the kids are in school from about 730 until 1030, then are set free until 130, when they resume classes until 430ish. They also go 6 days a week. I was shocked to learn about their huge lunch break, but since the hospital also pretty much closes from 11-1, I guess everyone just needs a nap.

Posted by Kellrad 03:37 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Back home in Vinh

semi-overcast 85 °F

We arrived home early this morning (3am). Our morning in the hospital was actually quite busy. We spent the first part in the neonatal unit looking up peak bilirubin levels for the patients with hyperbilirubinemia. Then we went to round in the ER/PICU where it seemed too many patients were on antibiotics for pneumonia even though they showed no signs of pneumonia, but we were not able to speak with the doctor taking care fo them to asky why he thought they had pneumonia. While we were rounding, an ambulance arrived with a child who had been in a motorbike accident. Judging from the injuries he did not seem to be wearing a helmet. He was unresponsive, convulsing, and had one blown pupil (all bad signs). Instead of staying to help, however, we were whisked away by our nurse. There is no CT scanner at our hospital so the patient was going to have to be transferred to another hospital for the CT and then back here for further managment. Not a good scenario.

On a brighter note, we had what I believe was the best food yet for dinner on our lastnight in Hoi An. We get a recc from the guy who runs the bike tours. The place, Bale Wells, was down an alley and was full of locals. We sat on the street in tiny chairs and before we knew it, the owner (Miss Mai) came out with plate after plate of food. We first thought that we were being given the tourist menu without knowing the price but then we saw the same thing happen to a table of locals. The food was amazing and required construction.
We started with rice paper, layered on fresh greens and herbs, cucumber, young banana, kim chi (pickled cabbage/radish), then added friedn shrimp spring rolls (or omelet with onions) and topped that off with bbq pork off a skewer. Roll it all up and dip in a spicy chili peanut sauce then wash it down with a cold Biere Laure and I was heaven. Fortunately for me, Kelli is a girl and also not a fan of pork so that left even more food for me. We toasted the locals and shared our dessert (fresh pineapple and kumquats) with their children.

Hoi An barely beat out Hanoi as my favorite place so far. The food was amazing and the bike trip was hands down the best day so far. I just wish we had some more time to explore the city. We wound up shipping all the clothes we haad made home which turned out to not be the cheapest decision but it will save us from having to lug all of our stuff around for the next month. Also the drive back to DaNang to catch our train was slightly depressing as there were so many plans for huge resorts and golf clubs along the beach, massive complexes that were just out of place and would ruin the feel of the place. The area is already Vietnam's most well oiled tourist place, but it is still avery real Vietnam experience. I am determined to come back here for a vacation when I have more time to explore and will be intrigued to see how much it has changed with all of this growth.

Posted by Kellrad 20:30 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Pictures!!!!

Scroll down and you can see some pictures on the right. We will add some more, it just takes a long time to add one but we will post the highlights...

Posted by Kellrad 06:22 Comments (1)

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