15 February, 2007

A Warm Welcome

Arriving in Saigon last night was bliss. The city has never looked so beautiful. Everything was all lit up for Tet, the lunar new year, which starts on the 16th. There are paper lanterns and huge smiling pigs everywhere, as well as banners saying Chuc Mung Nam Moi, crowds, dragons running through the streets with lots of human legs underneath, etc.

We arrived just in time to climb off the bus, claim our backpacks from under the bus, and walk across downtown to meet up with our friends for a group Valentine's day dinner. The combination of lovable friends whom we have missed very much and the wine (haven't drank at all since before Christmas!) and the food (goat cheese! fresh salad! pasta! lamb! oh my god!) served to make me feel extremely warm and melty. Plus we were at Jaspa's, where you are provided with crayons and allowed to doodle on the paper tableclothes. Wow. Home sweet Saigon!

We are sleeping at Kim and Janny's house, both of whom left today for Tet, so the house is all ours-- or at least for one more day, and then Kenny leaves, and it's all mine. Sniff.

Today was an extremely productive day: good sleep was had, I took a bath, Kenny and I completely unpacked and repacked our suitcases (making the usual "free store" pile for when the girls return home) and went on the easiest shopping trip ever: everything we needed just appeared before us, right when we needed it, for great prices. We found a new winter jacket for Kenny (since the NorthFace gore tex jackets come with all the trimmings here for about $26), souvenirs for Mary, Yoshi, Chris and Kei, new computer cases for me and Patty, a few groceries for the empty fridge, and a new inner tube for my front bicycle tire, which I'm going to try to sell before I go (the bicycle, not the tire).

And now-- we get to watch a movie on a real TV screen! On a couch! Inside!!

Traveling is great, but it's even greater sometimes to come home.

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