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Published: March 24th 2009
She was the best ever. Last time I visited her was in the great cold spell of last year. Then, she told me she was'nt going to make it. She did.
How are you? I miss you very much. I wish you were on this trip with me. You would enjoy Vietnam very much.
I wish all my family were like you and could enjoy, appreciate and understand the experience of Vietnam. The people are beautiful here, very friendly, and I enjoy being with them.
Yesterday, a Hanoi University student Loannie and I, traveled to Lung Gung Village in Hai Duong Province. Just east of Hanoi.
It is a thousand year old village and except for the cell phone, motorbike and television would be much like it was one thousand years ago. To give you a time frame, the Converse's came to what is now the USA in 1640, 364 years ago. Since the pilgrims came in 1620, we have been here about as long as anyone. So, the people of Lung Gung has been around a long time. Actually, Vietnamese people go back at least 6000 years.
I went to the village to visit with Grandma, a 103 year old women. Do you remember when I brought Ngat Dao to your house? I am talking about her Grandma. Ngat introduced her Grandma to me three
Simple but functional. Very comfortable but no bathroom. No kitchen either. They do all their cooking outside or in a cook shack.
years ago when I was on my bike ride. Grandma was very talkative and I learned a lot about her life. She was sent to the rice paddies to work when she was 7 years old. They did everything by hand, and she shoveled dirt, leveled fields, transplanted rice and brought water to the workers. This is back breaking work and people grow old quick working in the rice paddies. Most women doing this, having 9 kids and everything else usually die when they get to 50 or 60 but Grandma worked 90 years in the rice paddies until she broke her leg when she was 97. Since then she has been confined to a bed and her son, Uncle Xuan, takes care of her. He is an awe-inspiring man and is totally devoted to her.
Loannie and I walked around the village and took numerous photos of this picturesque place. It was so peaceful and serene. Missing are the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, in Lung Gung it is quite and peaceful.
I walked to the cemetery and read the names as far back as the Vietnamese started using the modern script of Quoc Ngu.
Grandma and Loannie
Loannie really had her talking.
This is based on the Roman alphabet, and I have studied this so understand some. Older than 1916 they used a version of the Chinese script called Nom. It is Chinese type character writing. The Vietnamese are the only people in Asia that have the Roman phonetic alphabet.
Time and time again as I walked through this serene village I was asked by people to enter their house and have tea. Two people gave me tea to bring home. You can try it if you want. I will get out my tea set and just you and me will have tea.
I am back in Hanoi now, and today I had a lot of meetings with interesting people at the National Library and the American Chamber of Commerce. In addition, I met an interesting American man who I am having dinner with tomorrow.
Take care Wes and make good grades. Prepare yourself to enjoy the world. There is beauty to see if you know how to look for it. That is something you do and that is why I love you so much.
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