środa, 4 marca 2009

Pre-work for Internationl Women Day......SPA evening

The number of surprises and unexpected immerses into Vietnamese culture we encounter each day is incredibly impressive and makes our days so vivid.

Today I have discovered that there are two women days in Vietnam: 8th of March is international women day and 20th of December is Vietnamese Women Day. And as the international women day is forthcoming I have experience already some evidences of the respect and special attention that is paid to women on this day.
Going out today for lunch with my client and my interpreters to the local restaurant enabled me to watch a company dinner with plenty of food, rice wine accompanied by some interesting speeches (Ok, I admit I didn’t understand much of it as my Vietnamese is limited to 10 words) However it was hilarious to observe body language of the people and trying to guess what’s going on as well as to master my ability to “comprehend” this precious knowledge so needed here. The fact is that we face so numerous situations on daily basis in which we have to guess the meaning of particular circumstances and even it might be tricky we don’t have a much choice.
After I have taken some pictures of this vivid group one of the men approached me and gave me a flower similar one as all the women in his group received. And talking about lunch of course I have to mention what this time menu was. Goat meat prepared on the kind on “barbeque” by the customers by themselves is the specialty of the restaurant. So when you are at your table the waiters bring plenty of different ingredients to let you to make your lunch. So there are various herbs, two kinds of meat and many vegetables. You prepare your meat; you can make kind f spring rolls – rice paper filled in according to you preferences. Than the soup is carried and additional items, like special mushrooms (first time in my life I’ve tried it, not that it’s something bizarre during my stay here, I keep on doing it constantly) rice pasta, vegetables, herbs and again the soups is boiled in front of you and you add whatever you want.

And just few words how proud I’m of myself starting taking up some Vietnamese very day and as nobody speaks English in my company that they are impressed when come in the morning and say “hello”, thank you, good bye or see you tomorrow. Nevertheless I have to admit that it’s very difficult language and it’s not similar to any of the languages I know and being able to pronounce words with proper intonation is big challenge. Even people laugh when I say something but I think it’s important I keep on trying.

Seizing the opportunity that the office of my client is located pretty in the center I decided to go every day ( if only possible) for a walk after work and later on catching taxi ( moto taxi) to the hotel. And without any doubts is really exhilarating stroll as it looks that inhabitants of Hai Phong are not so used to foreigner and I can’t hide that I’m not from Vietnam so passing by I constantly meet people smiling and greeting me so I do exactly the same. I love it. Thus I wouldn’t be surprised that I’ll get used to it very quickly and when I’m back home I would to greet people as well e.g getting on a bus and everyone will look at me as an idiotJ
I travelled in Vietnam 3 weeks last year and I met so many friendly people but in Hai Phong is incredible how open and welcoming their inhabitants are. I marvel every day.

And it’s not the end of the day full of unbelievable experiences……. we – 4 IBM women of our lovely “The Hai Phong Blue Team” were invited by Monica’s client to visit ……. SPA. We were driven to one of the most upper market Beauty Centers in Hai Phong to secret treatment. It turned out that we had special facial treatment, skin analysis and individual recommendation. Everything happened in the surrounding of 3 interpreters, all the staff of the beauty salon and one man filming us.:-) And everything ended with the session with manager of the Beauty Center, we were asked to share our opinion about the place, think about any recommendation or guidelines we could give for running this business, for marketing or generally for strategy.

We have had such a lovely; relaxing evening even we have asked ourselves if this is supposed to be our assignment?! But we can’t forget that we are in Vietnam and one of the crucial cultural characteristics is building relationship and that’s what we are working on:-)

Tomorrow I try to focus more on writing a bit about my client, my work with interpreters and the assignment.

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