Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quang Ngai – Feb 8 to Feb 11

Quang Ngai is my mother’s hometown. It’s about 900 km north of Saigon. To get there, we had to fly north to Danang airport and then drive south for 2-3 hours. The drive was characteristic of Vietnamese driving. The roads are made up of two-wheel vehicles and four-wheel vehicles and involves A LOT of passing on the left, against traffic. Luckily, we were in the four-wheel vehicles.

This is my cousin's dog, Phoc. This is just proof that we don't eat all dogs...

Visiting my uncle (farthest right) - my mom's half-brother: my cousins H and K, Cau H, Mo T, myself, my cousin V and my uncle Q

We spent the next days with my Cau Q and his family. The time here allowed us to get over our jet lag and get use to the Vietnamese life. Our time here coincided with Tet, or New Year. Most businesses are closed. The time is spent visiting family and friends. People put their best foot forward, dressed in their best attires and entertaining with the best food (Lucky us!). There’s also an emphasis on worshipping ancestors so I got to worship my maternal grandfather and my great-grandparents.

We actually got to visit my grandfather’s and great-grandparents’ graves. By scooter! Let’s just say that by the end of the day, my arms were very sore from holding on to dear life. There was an instance when I thought The Boyfriend, riding in the back with my uncle, got hit by a bus. Luckily, I was just watching this from the wrong angle… On the same day, we went to visit an orphanage. I think this trip deserves its own posts, with lots of pictures! To summarize it: the kids were great given their circumstances. I’ll also have to add a post about Quang Ngai food.

Getting ready to go on a scooter ride with Mo T.

The Boyfriend on the back of a scooter with Cau H

Quang Ngai is a pretty small town. You can walk most everywhere. Most houses are comprised of a business and home. My uncle seems to be a middle man for animal feed. We spent a lot of time in front of the house outside, drinking, talking and eating snacks. I got to see where my parents grew up. My mother’s house was demolished and is now just a street. I also saw where my mother went to school and where she taught.

The front of my uncle Q's store and house, where we hung out.
In front of the house: my cousin, my Cau Q, myself and my Di (Aunt) L.
This is where my mother's family used to live. In the middle of the street - it's obviously been destroyed.
School where my mother was a high school teacher.

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