A journey begins

Cham temple
Posing for wedding photos

You would think that setting up the internet would be an easy thing, but like many things here, it was a little complicated. Firstly, they have a dedicated line separate from the phone line, sooooo the installer asked me where the wires come into the building. Uh, I don’t know. After some snooping around he then asked me where I would like the wires run. Uh, I don’t know. I told them just to get it done with no mess. The two installers spent almost all day installing the wires and were forced to leave with the job unfinished. They were able to get my desktop hooked up, however, after they left It quit. Thankfully the wireless still works or I would not be posting this today. I discovered something new yesterday! I have mentioned in the past that this system runs on stacks of papers and official stamps. Well….. to my surprise after signing 6 forms and getting all of them stamped by the internet company, I was asked to stamp on my signature…. Yes that is right… I have my very own official stamp. Cool! The installers will return tomorrow to continue working. The mega package for the fastest ADSL available here is about 13 dollars a month.

Ironwork in a typical temple window

I said yesterday that I would tell you about my wife and her story. Let us start with her as a girl. I will try to keep politics and certain things out as there are still things that cannot be openly said here. I will try to use idioms to describe things important. Mai was a teenager when the Americans arrived in Nha Trang. Her family was involved in entertaining the GI’s by taking them on fishing trips or hosting them in their home. Mai and here family were introduced to western style foods such as wieners, potatoes, chocolate, and many other foods that were not available to local Vietnamese at that time. Like any young impressionable teenage girl, she was bedazzled by the big strong foreigners and promised herself that she would one day marry an American. During the time the Americans were here, Mai’s

Sot from the area of my house

family were treated very well. Some had befriended her father and would visit on a regular basis. They would bring candy and food for the kids. One of the biggest hits was the cheese powder used in macaroni and cheese dinners. Another was instant hot chocolate. Some of the tales she tells a person can picture in their minds. Youngsters blowing up condoms like balloons, following the soldiers around hoping to get a treat which they often did. Mai told me on one American soldier who was fond of her and offered to adopt her and take her to America… Of course she would not leave her family, but she remembers him fondly, not recalling his name. Her family is a big one with 15 children, so I can imagine the fun the GI’s would have being overrun by this large family of kids. The house they lived in was located directly behind some ancient ruins from the Cham era. The property was very large and filled with fruit trees of every description. Perhaps that is a small part of why so many soldiers liked visiting, just pluck a mango from a tree and enjoy, but probably for the most part, it had to do with a family member who was involved closely with the Americans. Mai had a good and happy life. She was tended to by servants, fed by hired cooks, and was very well cared for. Her father was a successful architect and the size of the family was a testament to his hard work.

Up until this point in her life, the stories I heard were typical of what may have happened in a country that differs from ours, such as the trapping of a man eating tiger in town and other tales.…..Her long journey to Canada begins here.

Her older brother was quite a scavenger and he and others would go through the American garbage to collect treasures. Mai would sometimes join them until one night, a very young naked girl was found in with the rest of the garbage. That scared some of the kids including Mai and she never went back. You can make your own assumptions why the body was there. Everything else was great until…… The Americans withdrew.

Cham temple gate

A few more photo’s from Don

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

3 thoughts on “A journey begins

  1. That tale is told a thousand times over….very sad the fruits of war. Especially in a country that promises only suffering and the occasional plum of happiness. Her story has a happy ending though…..thankfully!

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