March 10, 2011

Emma Willard School Girls Arrive in Vietnam

We made it last night around 2AM to our hotel after a long visa processing adventure. Sara Rahimi passed the immigration officer at the last minute of her birthday 12AM, with about 15 seconds to spare!

Girls were a little excited last night but finally fell asleep. We got up and had a delicious breakfast: dumplings, yogurt, sausage, pancakes, fried noodles, dragonfruit, watermelon, and much much more.

Les Baird made signs for each of their water spigots to help them keep from using the tap water to brush teeth and all were on the road for a little tour of Saigon. We saw the French architecture of the post office and city hall, a beautiful statue of "Uncle Ho" (Chi Minh), the old US consulate building and the hotel where war journalists stayed. We drank coconut water from the seed itself, ate pho where Bill Clinton ate pho (noodle soup) called Pho 2000. We stopped to see a rehearsal of a fashion show, complete with dancers. The biggest surprise was sticking our heads into the entrance way of Ngoc's middle school!
Everyone seemed to enjoy the market. Some were proud of their bargaining skills, others showed off their new clothing and other stuff. We enjoyed watching girls try on wigs and shoes, and eat their lunches from round metal containers.

Speaking of Ngoc, she saved the day by initiating our connection with the girls at the Little Rose Shelter by translating all we needed to know. The afternoon was improvised and all the girls rose to the occasion by offering up and playing various games. We learned to count to 10, how to say each others' names, and the words for I, you, left and right. It was a spirited afternoon with lots of smiles. We gave them lots of VHS movies for kids, but alas they didn't have a machine, but promised to give them to someone who could appreciate them.

After a short break (swimming in the pool, nap and organizing), we went out for dinner at the Chateau. Dinner had little animals made of fruit that escorted in our courses: coconut soup, fish (whole fish), morning glory, meat dish with pork and fruit for dessert.

As we returned all voted to sleep until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow the highlights are visiting the war remnants museum and return to the Little Rose Shelter. We hope to get to know those girls even more now that the ice is broken.

Cam on and bye bye.

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