Adventures as Miss Saigon

And there goes another week

Posted on: February 13, 2011

It’s been a busy week! After fireworks downtown last week for the new years celebrations, the rest of the Tet holiday was pretty quiet. Most stores and restaurants in my area were closed, and remained closed for almost another week following new years eve. And even now that the stores have been reopened for close to a week, they’re still not full stocked and functional!

Last Monday, a new therapist, Kathryn, arrived from the Philippines. Wendy and I met her, Tony, and the parents that Kathryn is working for for dinner and drinks on Monday night, and had dinner again with Kathryn and Tony on Tuesday night. Laura returned to Vietnam on Wednesday after almost a month in Scotland with her family, and the girls got together for smoothies on Wednesday night. Needless to say, it’s been a very busy week!

Friday night was pedis and sushi before I headed home for a productive night of doing laundry and cleaning up my apartment. My second cousin from England arrives in HCMC on Thursday morning and is staying with me before we go with Wendy to Hoi An on Friday night. I’m looking forward to seeing my second cousin, as it’s been probably 14 years since I was last in England and saw her!

yes, my toes are yellow...yes, those are dragonflies...and yes, there is glitter!

This weekend has been busy and productive…on Saturday I ordered my ticket to see the Backstreet Boys when they play here in HCMC in March. Make fun of me all you want, but my 12 year old self is thrilled! I couldn’t convince any of the girls to join me (I don’t really blame them!) so decided that I would go alone. This is a huge thing for me, as at home I wouldn’t have thought to just do things that I want to if no one will join me. But since coming to Vietnam, I’ve mastered the art of dining and hanging out at coffee shops alone, am preparing for trips to Bali and Australia on my own, and I’m now adding the Backstreet Boys concert to the list of things I am confident enough to do on my own.

The whole ticket buying experience was quite amusing as well…Vietnam is a cash based society, and they don’t have anything like TicketMaster set up here as there really are no major concerts. Evans (my friend from up north) texted me Friday with the website set up for the Backstreet Boy tickets (I had asked him to ask his Vietnamese assistant if she could find out how to get tickets), and the whole website was in Vietnamese. Lucky for me, one of the local English news sources had translated the instructions into English, as follows:

We are sorry to inform you that the English web page is not working properly…but you can still book your tickets from the Vietnamese side as follow:

– Step 1: Click on “Mua vé”
– Step 2: Select where you want to book your tickets (My Dinh Stadium or Quan Khu 7 Stadium).
– Step 3: Choose the area you want to sit (different colours are with different prices)
– Step 4: Click on the seat you want to book. The price + details will appear on the left hand of the screen.
– Step 5: Complete & click on “Đặt vé”, then fill in your personal information.
– Step 6: Text “BSB + your confirmation code” to the Call center 8702 to confirm within 10 minutes. Each sms costs 15 000 VND

After you completed your booking, bring ID card or passport to any box office to pay and collect your tickets.

My first attempt to pick up my ticket was only partially successful, in that I found the box office…a furniture store downtown with a poster of the Backstreet Boys out front. The tickets weren’t ready until the following day, and the guy at the “box office” said he would call when I could come back.

While I was downtown, I also went to the post office to mail a parcel and some cards home, did some other errands (like getting my apartment keys copied, finding and purchasing a new ethernet cable) and still had time to hang out, read, and watch the busy Saigon traffic. Each errand I had to do requires patience and persistence…the logic in this country still does not make sense to me and the items that I look for are never in stores/locations that I think they should be in. Nothing is easy here…at least not for a foreigner! While out and about by busy busy Ben Thanh Market, I was stopped by two women (tourists) and complimented on my street crossing skills as they stood semi-paralyzed in the middle of the street.

My Saturday evening was spent at home enjoying my favourite bottle of Australian red wine, indulging in a pasta dinner prepared by me (including a Western brand of pasta sauce and topped with parmesan cheese…both very exciting finds for me) and skyping with several friends. I was up way too late and woken up this morning by a text from my boss asking me (and the other girls) to join him for lunch. After a wonderfully relaxing lunch, I headed back downtown to pick up my Backstreet Boy ticket and grab a coffee at Go2 and read my new book.

a not so official looking BSB ticket

After a busy and productive week and weekend, I’m now exhausted and counting the hours until I can go to bed…another busy week ahead and a relaxing weekend coming up in Hoi An! Ready…set…go!

As a side note…this is apparently a BIG deal, and I’m actually bummed to be missing it! (It’s the weekend I’m in Bali.) Bob Dylan has been confirmed to be playing in HCMC (down the street from my apartment) and if there’s anyone here that wants ticket info, let me know! 🙂

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