February 14th, 2010

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Feb 14 “Happy Lunar New Year” And “Happy Valentine’s Day”

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

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It is 00.50 hours in the Year of the Tiger. The Ox, my sign, has been put to pasture till 2021. The drums started beating  right at midnight. The fireworks over the Saigon river exploded at the same time. What a treat!! Fourth of July fireworks in Tacoma pale in comparison to it.  I spent the early morning in the City Culture Park where I had spotted the Tulips yesterday. A delightful park, adjacent to the former Cercle Sportif. A strip of central Saigon that has not been turned into High Rises yet. With 80 year old tall African Mahogany trees (Khaya Senegalenis) planted by the French and native Dipterocarpea, “Dau”. There were Bonzai exhibits, tropical fish tanks, orchids, flower arrangement contest and the same Flamenco band that played Friday night on the REX rooftop. The entry fee to the park was 20,000 dong ($1.10) . The tulips were a big hit for the Vietnamese but they had to be constantly tended to and replaced in this heat. Afterwards I stopped to have coffee at Mike’s restaurant and met three of his regulars, also repatriates; Van from Vancouver, Son from Toronto and Txoa from Orange County, California. It is now Sunday morning. I went to 9.30 English service at N.D. de Saigon. Because of New Year’s day many of the Vietnamese ladies wore their brand new Oa Dais.  Fat ladies can’t wear Oa Dais. We should introduce them in the U.S. as school unforms from grade one through twelve. That would solve our obesity problems for ever. On that subject, this Tuesday is Mardi Gras. I left Gig Harbor the day after Ash Wednesday 2005. It has been a great experience and I have much to be grateful for. Thirty Four countries, 36,000 nautical miles, tons of new friends. I have to get my second insert into my passport and the discovery celebration continues. 

I have made up a slide show of just the Colors of  Tet, the flowers and decorations around this most important Vietnamese and Chinese holiday. Yesterday’s incredible exhibit and this morning’s fireworks, at : https://cometosea.us/albums/albums/LunarNewYearVietnam2010.pdf                        It takes a few minutes to upload and you may need to advance through the pictures by hitting the space bar.