Before I get to today's post, I want to help the Nguyen Sisters learn how to access permanently their YouTube video. Here is the direct URL for the Nguyen Sisters Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_9RBQ3VNbs). I'm going to send it to them in an email, but I thought I'd include it here for a few days in the beginning of our daily posts in order for them to not lose the link.
We had lunch today at China Beach at a local beach haven our tour guide spent some time last winter with. He’s fighting to keep his restaurant location, against the commercial ambitions of the hotel chains who want his beachfront property. He’ll lose, but has gotten some reprieve due to the economic downturn. He and his wife prepared the ingredients for egg rolls, and we all drank beer and made our own. While we were there, a young surfer with a wife and small child finished their meal and headed off to the beach with a rented surfboard. For a $5 lunch price, we enjoyed our time at one of the last of the Vietnam coast surf establishments, and paid our respects to a great family.
I didn’t understand how little I comprehended about the emperors, kings, mandarins, and feudal systems throughout this region. And about how everything I knew was combined into a fuzzy ball of Siam, “King and I” images. Each time we climb up the steps of yet another ancient leader’s palace or tomb, and poke through the tributes and offerings, I see more clearly what John Foster Dulles and his successors should have grasped. All of these local leaders did their best to keep from being taken over by each other, and the assumption that any over-arching political system could become dominant (i.e. fall like dominos) was absurd. Centuries of accommodating the English, French, and Chinese have not diminished their nationalistic pride. And one wonders how great they would have become if left alone.
The following comes from Pat, who agreed to write something about the dinner we had tonight.
After climbing marble mountain (very beautiful scenery, very tall stairs, real marble and caves to boot), we arrived at Hoi An via “China Beach” once a GI R&R haven, now home to 5-star hotels. Hoi An is an old trading town with a preserved city center…no cars, but lots of lanterns. We walked around, then had a great meal at Ly’s…Hoi An specialties and local beer…all for $7 @. Ly has just married Nathan, a US expat who was our suave maitre’d. Wonderful meal. The weather is a balmy 70ish. We stay for one more day to shop and wend through quaint streets and covered bridges. Life is great!
To see the photos from today, click on: Tuesday, Feb15th, Hoi An