I’m passing on some notes I’ve made of the first few days of my VietNam journey.
I passed the first several days visiting with my friend Bich who I met several years ago in San Francisco while she translated for VAVA, Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange. We’ve stayed in touch through the internet. Coincidentally, our delegation arrived on the weekend of her Wedding. On, Friday, Bich and her now husband, Tuan treated me a wonderful restaurant luncheon feast while we caught up and planned for my attendance at the wedding.
It’s a three part wedding; The grooms family visits the bride’s home and introduces themselves and then it is the brides turn to visit the groom’s family. This part is for family members, so I was very honored to be invited. I brought hand made chocolates (knudsen’s in Castro Valley). Jeanne Friedman linked me to a site, so I was properly prepared and the families were very grateful. The little kids were shaking the boxes and listening to the chocolates move around but they were told they had to wait until later to open them. I was a little worried because it is unseasonably hot and humid and I worried that the kids might have ended up with chocolate soup. The third part of the wedding is a dinner for other family members and friends. You can guess the next part. Lots of special dishes of meats, fish vegetables, beverages.
I sat among a group of young university students. Most, spoke some English (some quite well) so we had a lot of laughs misunderstanding each other.
The wedding dinner ended around 7:00. I wasn’t far from my hotel, so I planned to walk back but some suggested I take a cab because it was getting dark. The cab driver wouldn’t take me because the trip was too short. (so much for international cab driver solidarity). I walked. The streets are packed with people, scooters and moto-bikes. They’re quiet safe.
The day wasn’t over. Saturday was the international energy-saving “turn off the lights” for an hour event. At nearby, Hoan Kiem Lake, people jammed the water’s edge, strolling, eating ice creams playing music, singing and in general, a joyful street party. The ever present alliance of bikes, scooters, motobikes, buses, cabs and more, barely moved along. Nobody really cared.
The day ended dozing off, serenaded by the karaoke singers from the bar on the street below. ..more later
March 30, 2014