Another great day yesterday. We saw the body of Ho Chi Minh and learned more about his philosophy that he wants the government to be close to the ordinary people, how he lived in such simple quarters to make that point, and how the country evolved from independence from the French. Our girls ask such great questions that integrate their thinking on politics and link the various stories of Vietnam together. We visited other governmental sites before lunch and then sat around an inside fire with Anh Khanh a performance and installation artist who talked about how government and artists relate and how he pushes his art to the line and avoids getting in too much trouble for making art that the police do not understand. After tea and looking around his gallery at his paintings and sculptures, and listening to the rain and wind develop, we went back to the Friendship Village, which is a center dedicated to those affected by agent orange (the kids who live there for long-term and the veterans who cycle in every two months). We were late, so while we waited for the next structure, girls tried to warm up by playing some soccer or huddling together for minute mysteries. A significant part of the day was gathering in the accommodations of the Vietnamese war veterans (it grew dark until the electricity returned), where they shared with us their roles in the war (blowing up bunkers, communication, etc.), their ideas about moving on from the past into a bright future for the younger generation, and how it is to connect with each other and those with whom they fought in the war. Another scrumptious dinner o' plenty brought us home.
Now, some girls went to the neighborhood breakfast place, or packed, or sauntered around with Les Baird to check out the goods in the local shops.
We'll check out in about an hour and be on our way for a little pampering (head massage/hair wash, nails and foot massage) before our last trip to the market. After dinner, we'll arrive at the airport.
This will likely be my last entry.