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Published: October 11th 2009
Back to Vietnam and this time I am determined to make this trip mostly for me. I have one little library training mission in Hanoi, but the rest of the time I am going to devote to seeing places I have not visited in the past.
So the list is Con Dao Islands, Phu Quoc Island, Tay Ninh Province, Gia Nghia, Buon Ma Thuot, Kon Tum, Hamburger Hill, travel the length of the Ho Chi Minh Road, Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Sapa, Cao Bang and Lang Son. Most of these places don't role off the tongue of most people, yet, for me, they are full of history and my understanding of the real Vietnam.
First stop, is someplace familiar, my past Rotary Exchange Student/Daughter's home in Ho Chi Minh City. She is a Vietnam Airline Flight Attendant, Tiép Vien Hàng Không and he is an actor, diễn viên. She is my prize success as a Rotarian because by being an Exchange Student changed her life, all for the better. However, when I am here she tries to tell me what I can and can't do. I went through hell when I told her I was going to bike
car wash project
I don't know the full story on this car wash entreprise but it is busy every morning.
from Hanoi to Saigon. She wasn't alone, all my Vietnamese friends thought I was a little crazy. Now that I want to buy a motorbike, and visit all of these places most tours never go, she is letting me have it again. Which, makes me all the more determined. So, that is where we are on that.
So, for the first month, October, I am based at her house, going to Con Dao Islands and Phu Quoc Islands. I haven't bought a motorbike yet. She says I need to practice on hers. So yesterday, me on the motor bike and the neighbor kids with their bikes with training wheels were going up and down the street in front of her house.
Thanks to Dr. McDoungh of Kansas City Mo. for fixing my back good enough that I walk about three miles a day. Part of my adventure calls for a little walking so I am trying to get in better shape. I have laid around for two years moaning about how much my back hurts.
The pride of Trang's house is little Sarah, eight months old and I have a few duties taking care of her. Also,
I wonder what they teach?
Trang, Huan her husband and Sarah and I have our little outings. A few nights ago we went on a boat ride up and down the river that runs through HCMC and had a great fish dinner.
So that is what I am doing in October.
Living in Trang and Huan's tube house is an adventure all by itself. It is about twelve feet wide and thirty feet long. It has a porch, living room, one bedroom downstairs, bathroom and kitchen. It has a loft where I stay, the full time maid sleeps in a hammock in the hall and Huan, Trang and little Sarah in the bedroom which is AC. I have three fans that blast away. This time of year in Saigon is not bad. It rains every afternoon. You can about sit your watch when the rain comes. Soon, it will not rain for about six months.
I was walking through a beautiful park near Trang's house and came upon about thirty Boy and Girl Scouts. Scouts are not legal in Vietnam but they operate openly anyway. When I went by I stopped and showed them the Boy Scout sign. They snapped to attention
The maid fixes me lunch. I babysit Sarah.
and gave me the Boy Scout Salute. It may sound silly to some, but a lot of meaning was conveyed with this one act of recognition. That is why organizations like Rotary International, Boy Scouts etc are so important. They bring people together.
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