Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City! Has it really been only four days? It seems like we have had a life time of experiences. When we first arrived Marjie was still in the hospital. Her friend, Sharon, took us to see her first thing. She was weak, tired, and covered in a red rash, but had a promise of release the following day. She gave us Vietnamese money, a phone, and a map and told us to go have some adventures. That we did!
We followed the map (carefully) to Thuy and Thanh's fabric stand. They greeted us warmly and told us to come back at 1:00 when their stand closed. We did and asked them to show us Marjie's favorite pho stand. They said "no;" they had fixed chicken soup for us to "keep us well." We were invited into their home which is behind their fabric stand and served delicious soup and an orange drink. When we tried to thank them, Thuy said "no." Then she pointed to her heart and said we were "one family." It was very touching. Marjie was quite surprised about the lunch; she has only eaten there once, and that was during Tet. Since that time we have seem them quite often. Yesterday they took John and me shopping at the morning market for ingredients for lettuce wraps, hot pot, and deep fried spring rolls, which they cooked for us that afternoon. Everything was delicious.
John and I also had the experience of being cheated by a pedi cab driver. We had taken a taxi to see the Reunification Palace (where President Thieu was taken by helicopter from the roof) and were trying to catch one to return to our hotel. A pedi cab driver just wouldn't take no for an answer. He kept saying "one dollar, one dollar," and practically pushed us into the cabs. Well, it WAS fun. At the end however, when John took out his wallet to pay, the driver's nimble fingers grabbed bills from the wallet and off he went leaving us with blank looks and mouths open. We think he got about $30. We learned.
Marjie is feeling better. She went back to work today; we are at the castle now waiting to hear how her day went. She is planning to take the kids to school with her on Wednesday. Another experience!