Monday, August 22, 2011

Yes, We Have Internet.

The trip to Saigon from Sydney was terrific.  Easy flight to Darwin and, after a two-hour layover, got on a plane for Ho Chi Minh City.  And had three seats to myself.  When the three American tertians left Sydney the temp was 55 F.  When I got off the plane in Ho Chi Minh it was mid-80's and steamy.  

Sunday was a rest day of sorts.  Because I slept through the 5:45 AM community Mass I celebrated alone later in the afternoon.  At lunch time, Anthony Ba, SJ, a regent, took me to buy a converter for the electrical outlets and for pho, Vietnamese noodle soup that is one of the best foods in the world.  I thought of going for a walk with the camera in the late afternoon but the skies opened up.  From the looks of things they are going to do so again in about an hour.  Thus I will post some photos with commentary. 

I left the house this morning about 9 to walk to the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  By the time I returned I was a bit dry internally with a blue shirt that had changed from light to dark.  

Without further delay here are the photos and some explanations. 

This is the entrance courtyard of the Jesuit community taken from the hall on the way to my room 
The kitchen/dining room of the community  
This is the other side of the kitchen.  Those little bananas are like biting into sugar cubes. Last
night three of us had dinner together (Sunday is catch-as-catch-can).  There was grapefruit, my least favorite fruit on earth, at desert.  Well, this is grapefruit unlike anything I've ever tasted in the States.  No need for anything on top to kill the sourness.  There was also a black sesame seed food that was about the texture of partially set Jello.  It was great. 
The community chapel.  Mass is celebrated and attended barefoot with one's shoes left outside the door.  Given that I almost never wear shoes indoors Asia is my kind of place. There is something deeply satisfying about celebrating Mass standing on cool hardwood in bare feet.  
Motor scooters are ubiquitous in Ho Chi Minh City.  If all the scooters were cars the town would be in perpetual gridlock.  This is the courtyard now filled with motor scooters owned by people who work  next door.  These parking lots are all over the place.
This is morning rush hour.  Crossing the street here is a challenge.  The best advice anyone has ever given me about crossing a street in Asia is DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVES OR STOP.  The cyclists will adapt to your movement.  The only time I almost got hit by a car in Taipei was when I forgot myself and started to dash across the street.  Walk determinedly with eyes straight ahead.  Love the kid in the front.  

The next shots are the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  The photographer in me was not happy that access is restricted to the back.  The priest, however, was pleased.  No short-shorts halter-top clad tourists wandering around as is too true in the U.S.  There is an air of reverence here that is absent in tourist-spot American cathedrals (it is impossible to pray in St. Patrick's in New York).  The second is the main altar.  There was a high barrier that allowed me to rest the camera to take a time exposure.  The third is a Marian shrine at the back and the last is the large statue of Mary in the circle in front of the cathedral. 

Unlike the U.S. there is no big "reveal" at a wedding.  Couples have photos taken in their costumes before the wedding and display one or two large ones at the wedding.  These are three Vietnamese women who were having photos taken in front of and around the cathedral. I sincerely hope I never see the dress bride #1 is wearing approaching the altar if I'm officiating.   Is her name Gypsy Rose Pham?

Two high school girls from Marie Curie Academy in their school uniforms.  
Finally.  Home.  
The weather is definitely going to deteriorate into a late afternoon thunder storm.  Good evening to do some reading. 
+Fr. Jack

1 comment:

  1. There's a book that tells you where you should go on your vacation. It's called your checkbook.

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