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Mandie Update

Talk about anything and everything, whether it's related to weight loss or not.

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Postby hushpuppy » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:57 am

She def is haveing a wow of a time . She sounds like she will nedd 3 extra suitcases to bring home lol
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Postby slimmindown » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:13 am

I really look forward to mandies emails they are great and i'm learning so much about the places she has been . What a trip of a lifetime.
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Postby Mandie » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:19 pm

Hey everyone!

Just a quick update for everyone on here :)

Firstly - I'm sorry I haven't had time to check on all your progress, but I'm sure you're all doing well after the new year... keep at it!

My weight - I have NO idea.. I'm guessing it's around the same, because my jeans still fit me about the same.. but I won't really know until I get home! Have been eating a lot of icecream lately because it's been so hot, and it is impossible to find diet things here!

Your self esteem really takes a blow in Asia.. I get grabbed (my arm fat and hips and legs) sometimes in the street, and people laugh and sometimes point as I go by.. because they have never seen a fat person before! I laugh it off, but after 6 weeks, I may come home a mere shell of a Mandie!

Also, I'm with my skinny friend Dan.. and when we organise things like a motorbike ride, they will say 10,000 dong for her and 15, 000 for me! that is REALLY annoying.. I don't stand for it though, we insist on the same (cheaper) price.. it's not like they are CARRYING me!

On the bright side, aside from the tailored clothes (and my excuse for buying a lot was that it was mostly shoes, and the jackets will last ages even if I lose weight, and I need the shirts and pants for my hospital work starting monday becuase I don't have enough work clothes! there, justified!) I Haven't a hope in hell in fitting into anything here, so I won't buy anything!

Anyways, hope you're all well... despite the challenges I'm keeping my sense of humour and doing okay.. going to even start doing a morning walk soon when I get into a routine.. we'll see how it goes!

Talk to you all properly in March, otherwise feel free to pm or email!

Mandie xx
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:25 pm

hey mandie you just got offline in msn when i was about send you a message! glad to hear from you. sorry to hear about people poking fun at your size- i guess its their culture and just the way they are. i just read shapelle corbys book and some of the things they do over there is quite different to what is acceptable over here. when i was in africa i was pointed at and stalked etc because i was white! lol.

anyway sounds like you are having a hot and fun time over there. cant wait to have you back of course and never mind about your weight - you have probably lost heaps considering its like living in a sauna over there!

much love and stay safe
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Postby slimmindown » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:32 pm

Glad to hear from you Mandie, you must be having the time of your life besides the nasty comments, Love your emails and cant wait till you get back here in March. keep cool till then :D
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:07 pm

XIN CHOW!

(it means hello.)

How are you all going? It's been a while since I wrote so I thought I would update you all on the latest happenings in Vietnam...

After the clothes/shoes buying frenzy in Hoi An (Dan and I are now lugging around an extra bag), we caught the train down to Saigon, AKA Ho Chi Minh City (officially, Saigon is just district 1, but the locals refer to HCMC as Saigon all the time). We found a cool place to stay - we have our own room, bathroom (with hot water and a good shower), air conditioning, a fan, cable TV (we're addicted to MTV) and a fridge, all for the grand price of US$5/night each! We can also use the pool table downstairs (but it's getting boring beating the pants off Dan all the time...)

(hope she doesn't actually read this)

We started off in HCMC by attempting to find a party posse for Dan's birthday on January 12th. We posted on the Lonely Planet forum, and contacted people we had met in Hanoi, and contacted people who we didn't even know (we had met an American guy, James, in Thailand, and he had just been to Vietnam and had met some random Vietnamese people in a park, and he gave us their e-mail addresses). So the "Random Party Posse", consisting of Me, Dan, Han (Korean-American from the Lonely Planet), Pavlo and Mark (Czech guys we met the night before in HCMC), Hien, Vincent and Yao Ting (Vietnamese-Australians that we met in Hanoi a couple of weeks earlier), Doug (random Canadian at the bar), Totti (not his real name, but he was French and oddly reallllly looked like Totti, the Italian football player) and Yen, Van, Jonny and "Commie Number 1" from Vietnam (the ones we e-mailed, who knew James). It was great!

We all went to bia hoi, and enjoyed the fresh (no preservatives, it's brewed and delivered to bars daily) beer for only 64c per litre. Yep, you read that right. Australian 64c per litre (8000 dong). It's not very strong, more like midstrength, but when you drink a few litres of it, it doesn't really matter! It tastes really good and goes down really easily. Learned some vietnamese too - Mot, Hai, Ba, YO! (1, 2, 3, Yo!), which you say instead of Cheers. You should watch out if people say "tram pham tram!" because that means 100%, and you are supposed to skull your entire beer!

It was a great night, topped off by the karaoke at the end of the night. Earlier in the evening, I took Dan out for dinner at a fantastic restaurant - "Grill 69 - The Essence of Meat". The essence of rosemary lamb with the essence of mashed potatoes, the essence of mixed salad and the essence of Diet Coke was awesome.

Since then, we've been enjoying the hospitality of the lovely Southern Vietnamese people. Yen (pronounced ing) and Van (pronounced Vong) introduced us to the rest of their friends, two of whom, Yen (pronounced ing, but going up like you are asking a question. Yen is a boy's name, Yen? is a girls name.) and Dng, are also medical students (Dng is 5th year and Yen? is 6th year). They have taken us all over the place (yes, on the backs of their motorcycles) and given us good tours of HCMC. They have also been really friendly and keep inviting us to their homes for lunch or dinner on the weekends! And of course, karaoke. Dan and I are trying to learn a vietnamese rock song. So far, I know the bit that goes "da da da da da da da". But we'll get there.

On our first day at Children's Hospital Number 1 (Bien Vien Nhi Dong Mot), we ran into another student from UWA doing her elective, Thanh! Dan and I didn't know her, but she recognised us and now we are hanging out together. She's fun and friendly (and does a mean material girl at karaoke), and can speak vietnamese, so we were actually able to take a patient history from a mother in the hospital! It was really random, we didn't know anyone else was going to Vietnam for their elective!

The hospital is nuts. They see 4000 patients per day in ED, and have 1000 inpatients. Compare that to PMH's 170 inpatient beds! They often have 2-3 children on each bed in the wards, and there are no curtains anywhere - who needs privacy? Apparently, even in the adult hospitals, and yes, even in the maternity hospital on labour ward, there are no curtains... Remind me not to have a baby here! The standard of medical care is quite good, considering all the challenges (SO MANY PATIENTS), and they have a lot of decent medicines and equipment. The neonatal ICU (brand new!) is VERY modern and fancy, the equipment is better than a lot of stuff at KEMH!

Dan and I are basically wandering around the ED and ICU, there are a few doctors who speak some english so they can tell us what is going on with each patient, and we occasionally examine or play with the babies. We are pretty much useless, so even though we start at 7am, we are usually finished by lunchtime. We're giving a talk in English soon, and we'll talk about the royal flying doctors and clown doctors, so hopefully that will be interesting for them!

Hm... what else? We take a xe om (motorbike taxi) to the hospital every day, each trip costs 10,000 dong (about 80c). Dan and I bought helmets yesterday, and our vietnamese friends laughed at us (why on earth would you want a helmet?). Dorky or not, at least we feel safer in the crazy crazy HCMC traffic!

I'll try to post some photos soon, but don't get too excited as I always forget my camera cable... may have to wait til I get home!

Hope everyone is well - send me some e-mails!

See you soon, take care

Mandie :) xx

P.S. Totally forgot to mention Dan and I hitting 100% at karaoke for our brilliant rendition of Gangsta's Paradise (Coolio) complete with realisation that we ARE 23 and will we make 24 the way things are going we don't know... we won little doll things to hang off our mobile phones, w00t!

Oh, and I totally taught the vietnamese people how to use 1337 on the internet, so now they are all 1337 h4x0/5!
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Postby hushpuppy » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:37 pm

WOW she is def having a great time > WTg mandie
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:59 pm

Hi everyone!

It's approaching Tet here in Vietnam - everyone is really excited and there are decorations and banners saying "Cuoc Mung Nam Moi" everywhere! It's the year of the GOLDEN pig, wich apparently only happens once every 60 years, so its pretty special. We're finishing up at the hospital this week in prepration for Tet, it feels like our elective has gone so fast!

We've certainly seen some interesting stuff at the hospital - there are SO many patients! There are 180 babies born at the maternity hospital every day, and the neonates ward there has over 200 inpatients at a time. Can you imagine the pathology we've seen? There are some really tragic stories too - like the baby with Down's syndrome and congenital heart disease, who now has pneumonia and needs to be ventilated. There aren't enough ventilators in the neonatology department and because of his poor background state he didn't qualify to use one, so his mother sits there all day hand bagging him (as in, pumping the bag for each breath). It's so crazy! We've also seen a 3 year old child who had hydrocephalus diagnosed at 8 months, but it was never treated.. I can't describe the size of her head to you, it was absolutely horrific, I hope I never see anything like it again. The children's hospital has been an experience, alright...

I've learned some vague vietnamese - I can say hello, thankyou, and I can count. I can also say lung disease, pneumonia, sepsis, jaundice, asphyxia and bullshit. I've had some good conversations with Vietnamese moto drivers by pointing at their cigarettes and saying "lung disease" when they offer me one.

Dan and I just spent the past weekend in Phu Quoc Island. It's incredibly gorgeous, it looks like paradise.. we splurged on a $30 a night bungalow 20m from the ocean, right on the shore. You can lie on the sun all day, it's simply gorgeous. There are no waves to speak of, and the water is so lovely and refreshing - the stingers are annoying but they aren't always there, and the sting goes away after a few seconds anyway! We did a day trip snorkelling around some of the smaller islands nearby, which was really cool. You'd all be impressed at the tan we managed to get after only 3 days! Our backs are a bit red (we remembered sunscreen on one of the days...) but otherwise we're SO brown. The island has a few resorts on it but at the moment isn't too crowded, and everything is still really cheap - give it a few years though, there are a lot of construction sites for new resorts!

We've changed our future plans a little.. instead of going through Cambodia to Bangkok before we fly home, we're going to go directly to Bangkok from Saigon. We've decided to get the full Tet experience, and stay here for the first couple of days, then go with one of our Vietnamese friends to Dalat (her family is going on their Tet holiday, and they invited us) for a couple of days. Then we'll travel through the Mekong delta, then fly to Bangkok for last minute shopping before we come home on March 1.

I've bought a bajillion dvds... if anyone has any particular requests for TV series or movies, let me know ASAP... there's a good chance I bought it already but you never know!

Mmm. I can't think what else has beewn happening! While in Phu Quoc, Dan and I got our legs threaded - that's where they kinda weave thread around and use it to pull the hairs out of your legs - it feels like someone is plucking the hairs with tweezers, but really fast. It's hard to explain.. result is like an awesome leg wax though, so that was good! It took an hour, it wasn't TOO painful.. although around the ankles it did really hurt... an interesting experience though!

Anyway, I'm off to meet Dan back at our place - we're going out with our Vietnamese friends tonight, they have finally finished exams!

E-mail me with the happenings in Perth! Miss you all,

Mandie xx :)
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:34 am

Yep - less than two weeks until I am back in Perth! So now is the time to actually go back and READ my group e-mails, because there'll be quizzes when I get back...

We're about to get a bus to Dalat to visit a friend of our Vietnamese friends, so this e-mail will be pretty short. New years celebrations have been pretty cool so far, even if no-one can explain why Chinese New Year is one day after Vietnamese New Year, when they both follow the lunar calendar.. any ideas, please e-mail...

Packing our bags has been VERY tough - Dan and I are now sporting an extra bag each.. whoops! My entire backpack is lined with DVDs... :D

We had fun teaching our Vietnamese friends a drinking game (Ring of Doom) last night - it was the funniest game, some things got completely lost in translation.. but that happens, I suppose! We had a good time with the "rules" - one of the vietnamese guys said that we had to eat a piece of the food on the plate after we drank each time.. but I didn't want to eat it (it was a plate of pig fat, no meat left...) so I had to take the penalty drinks.. and although it was Corona (good), bought at the Cambodian border for a dollar each (very good), they had put in an orange slice (NOT the same as a lime) and they put salt on the rim of the bottle (for the love of God WHY??)

We have, of coiurse, been karaoking and our Vietnamese song is impressing everyone - It's called Hay Song Voi Con Tim, if you google it you can listen to the original, but trust me, our version is better! In return, we've taught our Vietnamese friends the YMCA, the hokey pokey (I don't know why it's on the karaoke list either) and "I Love Rock n Roll" complete with head banging and air guitar.

Things I'm going to miss about Vietnam:
1. Crossing the road. It's a buzz, I love it.
2. Riding on the back of a motorcycle EVERYWHERE - it's a great way to travel!
3. Free movies at the Bobby Brewers cafe
4. Only having to go to the hospital when we feel like it (mornings)
5. CHEAP DVDs, books, food, everything!
6. Watching the faces of parents at the hospital light up when we examine their child (they think we are fancy foreign doctors)
7. Small children waving and saying "hello!"
8. The friendly, welcoming people here - we got invited so many places for Tet we had to turn people down!

Things I'm not going to miss about Vietnam:
1. The random touching - people stroke your white skin (and I have a tan, so I'm not even that white anymore!)
2. The constant stares, points, and occasional outright laughter
3. The constant cacophony of motorbike horns
4. People trying to sell you things ALL the time (they walk right into restaurants)
5. Squat toilets

Okay, still more pluses than minuses - that means I'll be back. I've learned a few more Vietnamese words too, so I can converse a little bit (to the extent of happy new year, lung disease, sepsis, jaundice, the numbers, crazy, and bullshit).

...and we're going to be late. I better grab Dan and be on our way.

See you in Perth on March 1 (well, thereabouts...)

Mandie xx :)
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Postby electrongirl » Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:15 am

she sounds like a great person!!

And what an adventure she is on!!
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:07 am

Image she's a doll :)
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Postby Ally » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:38 pm

yeah she is our little treasure...can't wait for her to get back!!
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Postby slimmindown » Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:18 pm

Thanks for posting it Kate,sounds like she is going to miss her new home , bet she will be a glad to see all her family and friends to though, :D

What an adventure,still makes my head spin :shock:
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