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February 5, 2004

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Vietnamese uses tones to convey meaning; six tones convert the same set of letters into different words. For example, depending on voice tone, "ma" means mother, ghost, which, tomb, horse, or rice seedling. All of its neighbors use tonal languages too, however, in the spirit of competition, Vietnamese uses two more tones than Chinese or Thai. For us the most important aspect of Vietnamese must be the way it's written. We're surprised to see a Romanized alphabet. Rhodes, a famous missionary (the original Rhodes scholar?) introduced Latin letters in the 1600's. Therefore, we're not illiterate! We read signs and recognize place names and simple words.
This morning we reached Nha Trang, a prime beach spot. All activity happens on the sand. Vendors offer shaded chairs, fruit shakes, blankets, clothing, groceries, cooked food, and sun tan oil massages.
A cafe called 'My Dung.' Marketing needs to rethink this one.
Saucer dinghy.