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The visit at Ho Chi Minh City was the first trip to Vietnam for me.  The flight from Tokyo took some six hours and I watched two movies, This is IT by Michael Jackson and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. ( Six hour-flight is too short to get decent sleep. ) I loved This is IT when I saw it first time last year.  It seems that the part I love most –audition scene of dancers-was somewhat edited out in this version, but the movie is still great in demonstrating how exceptional and extraordinary the entertainer Michael Jackson was, and how exciting it must have been to work with him.

I arrived at Ho Chi Minh airport after 10:00 p.m. local time. During the ride from the airport to the hotel, I saw hundreds of motor bikes with two people and with three.  They were all over the place and looked almost racing against the cars.  It was very lively and I got the impression that the country is so young and so dynamic.

The city had quite a bit of greens and some old building from the past.  It was very humid (though I felt the humidity only when we rode on bus to go to the reception).

The young Japanese couple I had known took me to dinner after the Forum ended around 7:00 p.m. on Monday.  The restaurant (which served the best Vietnamese food, I heard) was fantastic and the food (and wine) was just great.  I enjoyed the food (and ate a lot!) and the conversation in the relaxed atmosphere.  It was nice to hear about how the life in Ho Chi Minh City.  They were kind enough to take me to the airport where I boarded on the flight back to Tokyo (almost midnight.)

I felt very fortunate to be given the opportunity to visit various countries and to meet with friends (unfortunately, I could not meet with ICS alumni as both were in Hanoi, and not in Ho Chi Minh City) to hear about life in various countries. I also feel fortunate that I get to enjoy local food.  (I feel it is an advantage that I seem to have a stomach which can process any kind of food!  I love local foods, though I am usually careful not to drink tap water.)  Though the trips overseas pose some physical challenge as you go over several time zones etc., (my friend from Thailand told me that he had decided not to live on the plane, as it was getting too much for  his health), it brings many new and exciting perspectives.

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