Thursday, June 05, 2008

Goodnight Saigon

Vietnam Time 4:45 PM Thursday
DC Time
5:45 AM Thursday

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Saigon and we are winding down our visits. There was a last minute substitution and we met with KPMG Vietnam. It was interesting to see the challenges of a well-known American company with expanding its practices into a developing country like Vietnam.

We also met with a Venture Capital company and discovered how they pick start up companies to invest in. Most of these companies are internet-based, though their concepts are not unique. The VP's indicated that Vietnam doesn’t really have the ability to create content, but rather takes current foreign initiatives and copies them to Vietnam. So their investments are Vietnam versions of eBay, Skype, ICQ, Craigslist and Match.com.

We all agreed this meeting could have been more interesting had we even covered Venture Capital in any of our classes. For some of us that was the first time we discussed this topic and it showed in the meeting. The executives weren’t really impressed with us.

Today was our last meeting. We met with the Director of Research & Development for the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HASTO). HASTO was created in 2000 and now has 151 stocks and 82 member firms. Trades occur for only one hour each day and no trade can be in excess of 5% of what the stock began at that morning. Institutional investors account for 60% of all trading even though they make up less than 1% of the total investing population.

After lunch, I went shopping with Mean Girls. OK guys, this is TOTALLY why I don't have a wife. We shopped for over four freaking hours and all I did was sit and watch. They bought purses, scarves, dresses, blouses, suits and hats. All I got was two linen shirts. Seriously, does it always take this long?

The program officially ended today with our final lunch. I speak for most people saying that the trip was amazing in parts, underwhelming in a few areas, but everyone is ready to leave the business side of the program tomorrow. Half the group will be dividing their time between tours of either Mekong Delta River and the Cu Chi Tunnels. The remainder of us will be departing for other countries. Four of the meatheads are going to Thailand and one guy is touring North Vietnam.

Six of us will be going to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home of the famous Angkor Wat temples. We will be staying at the Le Meridan Hotel for three nights before heading back to the states.

This has probably been the #1 destination that I have always wanted to visit so look forward to many entries and pictures. Angkor Wat is the single largest religious monument in the world and was built around 1080 AD. There are approximately 20 temple complexes all located within a few miles. If you’ve seen Lara Craft Tomb Raider, a number of scenes were filmed here.

Cambodia played a prominent part of the Vietnam War. Communists used Cambodia as a staging post and the US responded with large-scale bombings, killing thousands of Cambodians. The country is also known for the movie, The Killing Fields which portrayed the massive extermination of many of the country’s people during the Khmer Rouge regime.

See you in Cambodia!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

Just wanted to say we check out the chronicles each day to see where you are and what you're doing. I share with Corey anything that a 5 year old can get.
Your stories are so well written - we feel like we are there!
All is well here - Safe travels - I can't wait to learn about and 'see' Angkor Wat.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I've never seen The Killing Fields and know almost nothing about Cambodia's history (for which I'm a little ashamed). Please take lots of pictures and stay safe.

Love, love, LOVE!

Chili

10:02 AM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

Glad you are having a good time . . . we are very jealous. And double that shopping time and you get what it's like to shop with two 17-year-olds. That's part of the reason why I knit - you can get a lot done while waiting for them to try shit on. Safe travels!

6:07 PM  
Blogger Papa Bradstein said...

"Seriously, does it always take this long?"

No. It usually takes much longer. And it seems even longer than that.

I can't wait to hear about your holiday in Cambodia, although every time I think about it, that DK's song gets stuck in my head as an earworm for the day.

When you get back, we have to get together--after you've recovered--so we can give you and Larry your treat from Brussels.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Mitch McDad said...

Are you sure you're not straight? That's definitely the pose of a straight guy in a women's clothing store.

The pictures from your trip are amazing.

8:16 PM  

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