A wedding in saigon

Old Dec 29th, 2019, 03:07 AM
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A wedding in saigon

Our oldest son is getting married in saigon several days from now. Family and friends are gathering. Long flights. Long layover. Slim movie selection. Last movie watched: fast and furious. We're staying at the Rivergate residence at an Airbnb. Modern, pool, nice views, comfortable, not very interesting. But saigon is really cool. So many motorbikes, so many people, so little evidence of road rules. Amazing to watch. The wedding is January 3rd. Today we got a massage at Temple Leaf Spa. Ninety minutes, hot stones, the masseuse walks on your back. Feels marvelous. About $25. DW bought one dress at home at Nordstroms but rented another traditional mother of the groom dress here for $20. I'll just wear a grumpy suit. Stay tuned.

Last edited by santamonica; Dec 29th, 2019 at 03:09 AM. Reason: File as trip report to Vietnam...
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 03:09 AM
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Frumpy suit. I'm not grumpy.
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 05:45 AM
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Congratulations and enjoy! Hope the grumpy/frumpy suit suits you well enough for the nuptials!
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Looking forward to hearing about this adventure! I hope you'll post some photos of the nuptials. I think I may have mentioned we sort of attended a wedding in VN in the countryside -- quite the event.
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Old Jan 4th, 2020, 06:15 PM
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The wedding is over and now we're with son and daughter in law in Con Dao. Con Dao Is a beautiful island about 45 minutes south of saigon by plane. We rented a motorbike, went swimming. There used to be a prison here. Tiger cages. Very unpleasant to be in prison, but very nice to be on beach. Except it's the windy season. But still better than prison.

But you're wondering what we did in saigon before we got here.. This is our third visit to saigon. Three visits to the war and remembrance museum would be too many.

So we got our teeth whitened. About $100. And I got a haircut, $2. And new eyeglasses (free eye exam), $80. We also got a cooking lesson/home cooked meal for 16 people, $25 each.

https://m.facebook.com/luaskitchen/

Had dinner at the seafood street near our Rivergate residence. We had a dinner at our in laws house. They are very friendly but only speak Vietnamese so, even if I speak very loudly, communication is difficult. I'm kidding about speaking loudly.

Anyway, saigon is phenomenally exciting. Taking a motorbike in saigon traffic, with your Grab (a motorbike taxi) guy driving is thrilling. Left turns against traffic are unbelievable. We got two 90 minute massages (Temple leaf spa) with hot stones, cucumber on the face, and walks on your back, $30. I recommend light pressure.

The wedding had many parts. There was a rehearsal at te te, a spanish brewery. My younger son's toast made everybody cry. Very sweet. Then the wedding day. 9 groomsmen and 9 bridesmaids and all of us friends and family pile into a bus to the in law house for the morning ceremony. Decorations, tablecloths, everybody dressed up. My wife in a rented traditional dress, all the groomsmen in shiny blue traditional suits, the bridesmaids in beautiful yellow dresses. Then to a big lunch, then nap, then to a reception at the continental hotel where grahm green wrote the quiet American. Dinner, fireworks, dancing, speeches.

In my speech I said it's not easy to let yourself feel loved, among other things. Nobody knew what I was talking about.

The next morning we flew to con dao, where we are right now. Dinner at Maison. What a wonderful place. That's all for now. You must be exhausted to have read all this.

Anyway, I highly recommend having your kids get married in interesting places.

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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 01:05 AM
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 06:26 AM
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Two happy, beautiful people. Hope they have a joyous, long life together.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 07:35 AM
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So beautiful! Love the photo and very touched by your description.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 12:45 AM
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Thanks! Con Dao is magical. We all rented motorbikes driving to the sunset and back was like driving on RT 1 through Big Sur. Smooth road, ocean on my right, dw on the back. Boy, it was precious. Another day we took a long long walk in the national park over mountains to an isolated beach. Everybody was surprised I survived. Another day we visited the prison tiger cages, discovered by Harkin when he was a hill staffer traveling with senators to Vietnam, an incredible story. It's hard to understand how people can be so cruel. Now we're in Hanoi. Stay tuned!
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 04:54 PM
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You've been very patient. Ive had to get a new phone as mine got a little wet whilst kayaking in Ha Long Bay. I've had troubles with phones on my trips.

Anyway, Hanoi has neighborhoods of similar stores in the old quarter where our hotel was (Golden Art Hotel, $38/night). One block will be kitchen supplies, the next fencing. Or door handles.

The motorbikes don't always miss you. One of our friends stepped off the sidewalk without looking both ways and knocked over a scooter. I helped right the scooter but the driver did not seem happy with us. The same friend was pick pocketed several nights later so I guess I guess on a macro level things evened out.

We saw the Museum of Literacy which has five courtyards so telling your wife you'll meet her in the courtyard is not a good plan. It's a very interesting and tranquil place. We also went to the museum of ethnology which is actually pretty cool. The outdoor section has full scale tribal houses of timber and fronds and larger than life sized fertility carvings I found somewhat intimidating.

I took Grab motorbikes several times whilst friends shared the four seat taxi. Grab motorbikes are even more fun than using 'whilst' in a trip report.

Then of to Cat Ba Ventures and an overnight on Ha Long Bay. Wasn't too crowded, our boat had only 5 cabins (we had the biggest cabin since I made the reservation for all of us) but you do see a lot of other boats. It was unusually warm for january, warm enough to jump off the boat and swim around a little before kayaking through a cave into a lagoon where only kayaks could go. The next day we swam to a beach which was deserted until another small boat with people from Guadalajara mexico. We were very welcoming.

Back to Hanoi for a night with the unfortunate pick pocketing (be careful at the night market on the beer corner which is like times square on new years eve) and then to saigon for a massage (temple leaf), spanish dinner (tomatito), and visit with son and daughter in law.

And then home. ANA flight, operated by United. Saigon, Narita, Dulles. Two seats in the middle of the middle section of four seats. Gad. I guess waterboarding would be worse.

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