Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mixing Business with Pleasure

Our first morning here, we visited a potential sewing contractor for my shirts.  You can read about it here.  Since then, we've visited the Cu Chi tunnels and flown to Dalat.  We just got back from treating everyone to dinner at the Dalat Palace (for Mom and Dad's April birthdays and Angel's straight A report card).  It's 1:30 am on Memorial Day, and everyone else is sleeping, but I'm too wired from my 3 hour nap this afternoon and the dark chocolates they served us after dinner.  We'll post more pictures and stories about our adventures soon.  Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Hanoi.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Travel Then and Now

Here's Dad swimming in the ship pool on their way from the States to Vietnam via the Philippines in 1963.

Here's me enjoying breakfast in first class on our way to Vietnam via Hong Kong in 2010.

See the rest of our flight pics below.

Ready to check in.  We got there 3 hours early, but we were whisked through 1st class "express security".

 Andrew having coffee in the British Airways 1st class lounge before our flight.  

Andrew solving a problem at work before takeoff.

What a business class seat looks like.

The guest seat in my "suite".

My seat.

Enjoying the warm towel.

Andrew's entertainment center and closet.  No overhead compartment.  This closet has the duvet and mattress cover for his bed in it.

What to have for breakfast?

They put an extension into this table so that Andrew and I could have breakfast together.

The flight attendant set up our beds while we changed into the pyjamas they provided.  We slept over 8 hours.  I barely had time to watch the Japanese movie I chose.

The first class lounge in Hong Kong.

Downgraded to business class for the Hong Kong to Saigon segment.

Finally arrived.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

270,000 Frequent Flyer Miles

I've been accumulating them for years.  We're going FIRST CLASS.  You can bet I'll be writing about it.  And I'll dig up a picture of the way my parents and sisters first traveled to Vietnam in the sixties--by cruise ship.

Almost Ready to Go

We have 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish packing.  It's always close, but it's so much easier to pack for the tropics than for cold weather.  We picked up a Flip video camera at Best Buy last night.  I'm not much of a camcorder person, but the other day David Sedaris read one of his stories on This American Life while I drove to Costco.  It was about how his mother always hated and avoided video cameras.  A few years after she died, his aunt gave them an old home movie.  At the very end, they found 15 seconds of his mother before she made a face at the camera and disappeared.  He and his sisters kept replaying that segment all afternoon. 

If all we only record 15 seconds of our trip, the Flip camera will be worth it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trip Prep

Saturday, we checked out over 20 books from the library to read on our trip.  Last night we watched documentaries on the Vietnam War that Andrew downloaded from the internet.  It helped to have maps of Vietnam to refer to from some of the books we checked out. 

Andrew's father fought in Vietnam.  Snipers wiped out almost his entire platoon.  Only Andrew's father and his friend survived. 

There's so much to do before our flight.  I imagine we'll be up all night the night before.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mom, Dad and Angel Made it to Vietnam

Here's an excerpt from Angel's email:

We have made it to Vietnam safely! The flying felt like it took forever though. We were stopped for awhile in Hong Kong because it was raining so hard. When we arrived we were met by the pastor from Deland and his fiance, and another man that Grandma and Granddaddy know. It is soooo hot. I don't think that I will ever complain about Florida heat again! We got to the hotel around 1:30 AM, and fell right asleep. My room is very cute and big. I skipped breakfast this morning to sleep in. Then Grandma and I Ć°ent to eat around the corner. Grandma wa surprised that I ate everything! The man that sat by us knew English too! Then we went shopping and had to cross streets, that was so scary.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Houses I Remember

Actually, I don't remember this house because I wasn't even born yet. But I've heard so much about it that I feel like I lived there.  It's the house in Dalat that Donna fell from and broke her leg when she was 3.

Is this what she was doing when she fell?  I'm hoping she and Deanna and Mom and Dad will write their memories of this story.  It's such a part of our family history.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Planning Our Trip

A week ago Saturday, we had our final Vietnamese exam. It's great to have our weekends back. She gave us bonus points just for showing up to take the test, so hopefully we passed! This past Tuesday, I visited a travel agent that our teacher recommended to get our visas.

Now we need to figure out what we want to see and do in Vietnam. Tonight we looked at a map of the country and googled a few 12-day itineraries. It's tough because we want to balance seeing as much as we can with feeling relaxed.

Looking at the map, I see that Da Nang is further north than Quang Ngai. Mom and Dad left the Southern Baptist Mission to move to Quang Ngai. I thought it was because the mission didn't want them to go to a city so far north, but there were always Southern Baptist missionaries in Da Nang. Dad has always said that the people of Quang Ngai province are very tough and that the generals of the North came from this province. So maybe it just wasn't as safe. Also, I didn't realize that China Beach was in Da Nang.