• Hien Le

My quarantine diary in Vietnam - part 3

Ok so this is the final part of my quarantine diary, apologize guys for taking so long to update (cue procrastination 😂).

So for this part I'm gonna share some highlights (stories, funny incidents and all) from the quarantine days. By the time I'm writing this post, Vietnam is about to lift quarantine regulations for all vaccinated arrivals (starting 1 Jan 2022).

1/ The games

Being stucked in a camp for 14 days without wifi, games became an inevitable part of our quarantine life. Some games we played often are:

-Card games: Simple and fun, these games never went out of fashion. The only requirement is that you need a certain number of players to play them, and luckily 3 of us make up the minimum requirement for games such as Tiến lên or Phỏm.

During the games we also made new friends, including a 80 y/o grandpa who would show up at every single one of our games.

My two games buddies

The number of leaves represents the number of time we loses, and who losts the most games had to treat the other two desserts (and that was none other than me 🙃)

-NEWS (North, East, West, South): A popular childhood game in Vietnam. For this game you fold up a square paper and inflates to make 4 equal anchors, each has 2 triangles so we had 8 triangles written with options related to a certain topic question. Players choose a number, then rotate the anchors in an interleave motion according to the selected number. The final triangle you get is the answer for the question.

For example, in this game our question is, "Which city will you visit in your next trip to Australia?", so the answers on the 8 triangles are the capital cities of 8 states in Australia.

After rotation, Zina got Perth, Uyen got Melbourne and I got Canberra (damn it 🤣)

2/ The explorations

To get over boredom, we also explored the surrounding areas. The camp is actually super huge, we were just exploring the areas we are permitted to.

I think I mentioned in part 2 that the camp has a pretty forest, where we had our picnics, game days and fireflies watching nights almost every day. There are lots of mango trees in the camp, and some people actually tried harvesting them 🤣

Unrippen mangoes on a tree

We also discovered action plants in the camp. If you touch the plant, it folds inward and could take up to 5 mins to reopen. That's why it is also called "shy plant".

Lame stuff to do in quarantine: Poking action plants and wait till it reopens 🤣

Lovely yellow flowers

3/ Other activities

-Cleaning day: We volunteered to clean up some wild grasses to help the soldiers plant more potatoes and radishes.

I couldn't join due to my injuries, but took some nice pictures of other people doing it

-Sports: Golf, badminton and all, because we have large grass fields, so why not?

-Karaoke and concerts: Vietnamese people can pretty much sings karaoke anywhere that has internet and a bluetooth speaker, so here we go - a bunch of aunties and uncles sang their hearts out.

Besides, some people in the boys' dorm had guitars, so they held impromptu concerts with phone flashlights acting as lightsticks. It was so much fun that some people from the girls' dorm were running over to join, and an officer had to tell us not to do so.

A glimpse of the concert

The final day

On Day 13 when we all got negative results for our 2nd test, we were cleared to visit the remaining areas of the camp. We got to see the kitchen where our meals were made, the rooms use specifically to quarantine positive cases and more fruit trees in the gardens.

Zina and Uyen joined in prepping the lunch

"Legs made of copper, shoulders made of iron, great battling and marksmanship skills".

Yeah I took this for irony purposes.

Our gift to the quarantine camp.

We also had a HUGE party, literally every single room was partying hard. A person from our neighboring room had an induction stove in her luggage, so she somehow managed to get a huge ass pot and fresh food into the dorm to cook hotpot even 😂 The boys got cans of beer inside and all we heard from their dorm were "1...2...3...dô!".

For our room, we ordered some food outside and had a hearty meal together:

Our picture with the aunty that we shared our room with. She flew to Melbourne around the same time as us (Feb 2020) and originally planned to visit her daughter in Melbourne for a month, but ended up being stuck there for over a year. Financial situations became strained as she wait to get on a repat flight, but she managed to find work in a farm. Upon learning her story, I realized how resilient people could be.

Four of us, pictured before we feasted.

Upon discharge, she had another long journey back home. She's from Bao Loc so she had to board the flight from Hanoi to Dalat, then another bus trip from Dalat to her hometown. Zina, Uyen and I were quite lucky to have our family just drove us home in a matter of minutes.

And that's the end of my quarantine diary. It isn't literally an adventure, but an unique experience that I had. Praying that international travel will be available again soon...

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