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October 11th 2009
Published: October 11th 2009
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1: Old Man Stoled the Show 54 secs
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 projectcar wash projectcar 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,
Kent CollegeKent CollegeKent College

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
My LunchMy LunchMy Lunch

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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 24


Lunch about goneLunch about gone
Lunch about gone

It was good.
About 60 cents worth of BananasAbout 60 cents worth of Bananas
About 60 cents worth of Bananas

They are small but a little sweeter than the ones we get in the states.

With one of Trang's friends

Same friend
Cooking on the tableCooking on the table
Cooking on the table

I don't like it. Hot enough without this.
Ban and SarahBan and Sarah
Ban and Sarah

Ban the maid. She lasted one day.
Traffic JamTraffic Jam
Traffic Jam

Going to school. The jam was one block long every way.
A plane had an accident A plane had an accident
A plane had an accident

So they built a bar around it.
A plane had an accident A plane had an accident
A plane had an accident

So they built a bar around it.
Sarah taking a bathSarah taking a bath
Sarah taking a bath

I use to not like these photos.
Trang, Sarah and HuanTrang, Sarah and Huan
Trang, Sarah and Huan

On the boat ride.

11th October 2009

Kent Business School
Kent, In response to your question, Kent College (they changed their name) is an Australian business school. The reason I know that is because I taught at their former campus in District 1 for a year. It's a great school. The students, faculty and support staff were wonderful then and are now. I can say that because I know one of their current Vietnamese instructors. It was good having coffee with you at Cafe Vuon Xua. Welcome Back!
11th October 2009

Good for you!!!
It's so nice to see you're fine and that you keep your mind busy. Thank you for always taking me in consideration for all your trips . Be sure I'll always see what you're doing and the places you visit as well. See you dad Edgar
12th October 2009

Phu Quoc and Con Dao
Kent, when you come through Quang Tri Province on the HCM highway take a break and let our staff give you an update about Project RENEW's activities. I visited Con Dao for the second time in about 10 years earlier this year, and it's still a beautiful place, not yet spoiled (and hopefully it will remain so). Phu Quoc I visited many years ago, when the plane still had to circle the runway three times to scare the cows away before landing. Now everyone says with the resorts and golf courses it's becoming another Phuket. I hope not.
14th October 2009

boat trip photos
Loved the photos and stories. What gorgeous colors! The old man was a hoot, too. I must have been gone from Rotary when you said you were taking another trip?! Looks like you are having a wonderful time and that you have your agenda scheduled for October! Hope we see you back soon?!
14th October 2009

enjoy your trip kent and be carefull on the bike, hope to meet up soon
14th October 2009

thanks for sharing
I'm glad to hear your back is holding up enough to babysit Sarah. Say hi to Trang and Huan for me...
15th October 2009

Uncle Kent, if you wanna discover the mountainous areas in northern Vietnam, I'll guide you. I know the areas very clearly. Unfinished stone roads. Great green jungles. Tiny stilt houses on the hills. Colorful costumes. And young people living with HIV/AIDS (!) - it's touching but true about the northwest Vietnam.

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