Vietnam is really an amazing country to visit – I would highly recommend it. This was my second visit and I noticed straight away that now nearly all motor bike riders wear helmets. When you cross the road in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, just close your eyes and walk. Somehow they weave around you! It is amazing what they carry on their motor bikes – sometimes up to 4 or 5 people, furniture (I saw a couch balancing precariously) and even farm animals.
The currency is Vietnamese Dong (VND) with the current exchange rate being:
1 Australian Dollar = 14,077.0 Vietnamese Dong (from oanda.com )
So after exchanging $100 (AUD) I was an instant millionaire! It occured to me that Vietnamese students may have a better grasp of place value having to deal with such large numbers daily.
Unlike Australians, the Vietnamese people spend a lot of time on the “footpath” in front of their shop/house. Here they cook and eat their meals, chat, smoke, drink and play Chinese Chess.
I often found myself stopping to watch a game, wondering what the strange chinese characters meant? I even got dragged into a game, but they quickly became amused when I did not move the pieces correctly.
In “Xiangqi” the two sides (red and black) have different characters for the same piece! Pictured are the black and red Cannons which move the same way as a rook (castle). To capture though they have to jump over a piece that is directly between the cannon and the target.
If interested you can read the full rules at “An Introduction to Chinese Chess“.
Or you might like to download my Vietnam assignment by first clicking the Scribd icon at right.