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It is always great to visit Viet Nam but this trip had some special surprises. This was essentially a trip to renew and develop relationships with VNUA, IPSARD, USDA, World Bank, FAO, VAAS, NEU, USSH-VNUHCM and NAEC, but this trip was also sprinkled with pleasures and surprises. First off was a fun dinner with a few MU alums at an unusual place in Hanoi, the Moose & Roo Smokehouse. A few days later was a good meeting with several faculty and international program administrators at VNUA, where we are signing an MOU to foster more collaboration. Included in the meeting group from VNUA were two faculty members who recently wrote the Vietnam chapter for a book I am co-editing on Agricultural and Rural Policy.

One remarkable coincidence is that we were walking out of the building when one of those coauthors asked if I had been to VNUA before. I replied that my first time to visit that campus was in January 1994, nearly 23 years ago, when I was one of four US professors teaching a market economics workshop. He looked at me and said that he was actually at that workshop when he was a 4th year student, and he pointed to the nearby building where it was held. That was an awesome surprise.

Later I flew to Can Tho and was met my old friend Vo Tong Xuan, who was a grad student with me at Los Banos, Philippines in the late 60s, so that was not a surprise. We stopped at a new private University Nam Can Tho, where he is rector and there was a surprise. One of the Agricultural Economics faculty members was Anh Khiem who was actually my classmate in Ag Econ at Los Banos and the photographer at my wedding. Now that was surprising!

Later that day we had lunch with our very own Ho Le Thi (a former student of Anh Xuan and a recent post doc at MU) at a famous old restaurant 1957 Banh Hoi Thit Lui (picture), which is very close to the Cuu Long Rice Research Institute. These are but the personal highlights, but the whole trip was awesome!