Nambodia Post 4 – The only name we have in common is Brittany Spears

We spent yesterday driving to the An Giang University in Xuyen Long? It was about a 6 hour drive from Ho Chi Minh and like most developing countries, the road system is always a bit interesting. Our dorm room accomadations aren’t bad. Sort of like a 2 room, cabin-style double room with its own bathroom. The room s are bigger than our Ho Chi Minh hotels but mold is a bit of a problem here – so are mosquitos and geckos. We have nets for the mosquitos (and boots for the lizards – lol. JK – they’re great actually because they eat the mosquitos. Jeremy and I have been luring more of them into our room with granola bars, “Come eat the mosquitos. We have mold in the bathroom too.”)

Anyway, after we got a bit settled, we went out to eat with about 20 of the university students. As with most of these types of moments, the beginnings are always awkward and no one can say anything right, and you are looking around for the reset button. Then with the arrival of food, the miracle of actual conversation happens (trust me, it’s always after the food arrives, even back in the States).

A lot to say of course but here’s a couple of things I found interesting.

– They were all English majors. The thought of that in light of their parents’ war generation really intrigued me.

– It isn’t until you leave the States that you realize just how popular Brittany Spears and Taylor Swift really are. Back home, Taylor is cool, Brittany is uhh, well, you know. Here’s the thing though – if you were talking to someone 10 years younger than you from the other side of the world, which people would you both know? I know this is normal but I’m going to ask more of these types of questions in the next two days but I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say that I do not know anyone from this part of the world. Jackie Chan and the “other guy” (Jet Li?). I think the only Asian person on my iPod was the dude from Hoobestank and that was so 2004. This really exposes a couple of things about being an American and I know we have the benefit of having a huge entertainmnet industry but it does make me wonder what it means when that’s the first name we come up with is Brittany (ahead of Obama, the Pope, and even Bono! Note that only one of these is American).

Much more to say but I need to run and it’s going to be a hot one. Today we are visited a pagoda temple here and taking in some other sights before our times of dialogue and tonight’s talent show.


  1. Brittany Spears? Who’s that?

  2. The Pope was born in the USA……… LOL ;)

  3. Um, duh, its BRITNEY.
    praying for you guys….

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