Merry merry happy happy
If I thought saigon was crazy last night…. tonight there is wall to wall traffic and people everywhere. Lots and lots of folks taking pictures of their kid, who are all decked out in christmas wear, in front of the store displays.
Here are some of the highlights (or moments) of my day….
- exercising early in the morning at a nearby park — which was SO crowded. Saigon likes their exercise! there are even permanent machines in the park! people playing badminton, an aerobics class with fun music and old ladies, runners, walkers, people of all ages. it was great!
- visited the Renification Palace – which is where the tanks came through in 1975 and took over S.Vietnam and hoisted the current flag. It is pretty well preserved and pretty interesting to learn more about the conflict
- visited the war museum – which has a big exhibit on Agent Orange. It is terrible what was done to this country. There were a lot of pictures of people impacted by Agent Orange — and it is still a problem here. On display was a beautiful letter that a young girl, who is disabled by Agent Orange, wrote to President Obama asking him to think of young children everywhere who need help. The most depressing part of it, for me, was that the companies who knowingly sold and manufactured Agent Orange have barely shouldered the blame and impact. While visiting the museum, I could not help but think of Iraq and Afghanistan…..
- when I came back to my guesthouse tonight, I got talking to a guy that was in the lobby. Turns out he is from long island, but lives abroad (currently in Hong kong) and is here traveling. While we had a beer and toasted christmas eve, the women who work in the hotel invited us to join them for some food — some watermelon, some fish and beef meatballs and eggs. And not just ordinary eggs — but BABY BIRD eggs…. no joke. when I said that I did not want to try it, the girl said “well, you eat big bird chickens, why not baby bird chicken?” Good question.
This is not the first Christmas I have been away from my family, but it is the first Christmas that I am alone. I move between feeling kind of lonely and a little melancholy to not even noticing that it is Christmas, as it is hot, busy, crowded and not my culture/language/community. But, I also have been having a tough time trying to figure out what to do with my time. An old friend is joining me on the 29th, so we have been emailing back and forth to figure out where to meet and where we want to go — but I have finally decided to stay in HCMC and head to the mekong delta on the 26th. Not that there is so much to do here, but at least I can get myself all figured out and leave with a plan.
Ok — more from me later. lots of love — aurora