Hanoi, Vietnam!

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to say Sai Jiao (hello) from HANOI, VIETNAM!

I just arrived this morning after the 14 hour flight to Taipei and then the 4 hour flight to Hanoi (clearly I slept basically the entire way on both flights thanks to my sleep deprivation during the Team HBV Collegiate Conference). I’ve never flown on EVA Air before, but they were amazing! Actually good food and lots of room back in good ol’ economy. It probably helped that no one was sitting next to me on that long flight. I did wake up on flight #2 with the older man in the seat next to me practically sitting on my lap trying to get out – slightly awkward.

GAVI arranged rides for us from the airport to the hotel in Hanoi, thankfully since it is a 45 minute car ride. I actually rode with the VP of Global Programs at PATH, which is funded by Gates and does a whole lot of vaccine work similar to what we want to emulate with the Asia and Pacific Alliance to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis (APAVH) so yay! Networking in action! It turns out that this VP lady is actually kind of a big deal so I’m glad I got to schmooze with her.

I had a little time this afternoon to wander around Hanoi. Um, talk about taking your life into your own hands – try crossing the street here! I think my life flashed before my eyes at least a dozen times during my brief jaunt around the French Quarter and Old Hanoi! I was having some directional issues in my attempt to locate this little travel agency to book my trip to Ha Long Bay so I decided to try one of the little bicycle cart things…let’s just say you are up close and personal with the cars, bikes, motorcycles, scooters, people and animals! I found the travel agency and booked my travel plans for Ha Long Bay for this weekend after passing the shoe block and needles/thread block (literally, every store on the street was selling the same thing – I didnt think it was actually true). Then I HAD to try these mango crepes that my mom has been raving about and they were delicious! Possibly one of the best things ever – mango, crepes, coconut cream – how can you go wrong!?

Since I felt a little more navigationally savvy, I decided to walk back to the hotel – again, another life-threatening adventure through the streets. I definitely tagged along with groups of people crossing the street in an attempt to not get hit by upcoming traffic. I didn’t build up the courage to cross this outrageously busy street to get to the lake, but I think I’ll try to make it there in the morning before settling down to business – I’m sure the jet lag will have me up at some insane hour.

Tomorrow our meetings begin so I’m excited to learn and network!

XOXOXO,

Alena

PS I miss ZUMBA!!

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