Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chronicles of the Nolen's in Vietnam '08 - Part 5

Thursday was such a nice, relaxing day: woke up & went to the spa for some more pampering, picked up Nana from school & enjoyed some tea & dessert at Caravelle one last time before heading home for a delicious meal from Mrs. Nga.

Friday, we were busy doing last minute shopping, packing, hanging out with the family, etc.

Saturday it was time to say goodbye to Vietnam & to the Nolen's. We had such a wonderful time getting to see them & experience a couple of weeks in the city! Thank you, Nana & Poppie, for giving us the opportunity! We flew out from Ho Chi Minh around lunchtime headed to Taipei, Taiwan, which was a little over a 3 hour flight. After another 12 hr flight, we landed in San Francisco. Both flights went really well; Parker slept & played just as we had expected. We had a long layover (about 7 1/2 hrs - we arrived at 4:30pm & were scheduled to fly out shortly after midnight) in San Francisco, so we decided to take advantage of it & spend a couple of hours exploring the city. We rode the BART transportation system to downtown & then walked up & down the streets just admiring the sights.

We managed to snag a picture on the San Francisco trolley but couldn't actually take the time to ride it. After walking for a bit, we found a nice restaurant to sit down & eat supper in. The Daily Grill was scrumptious, though we ate with less gusto than we had had earlier in the day! At this point, we were all getting a little tired...I think jet lag was already kicking in & we weren't even home yet! Our flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis was a little challenging. Everyone on the flight was sleeping...except for Parker...who was more than wide awake...he was ready to play, giggle, coo, eat, anything & everything but sleep. I was thankful when about 3 1/2-4 hours later our flight landed safely in MN. It was Sunday around 6am MN time.

We were tired & decided to play it low key around the house for the rest of the day. You know me though; I couldn't let the laundry sit...I think I did about 8 loads just that afternoon! We actually got most of our things unpacked that day.
Here are some of the goodies we picked up while we were abroad:
Love these Vietnamese paintings...
We also had an oil painting of the Cafe Terrace at Night by Van Gough painted for us while we were there. It now adorns our kitchen in a simple black frame.

Here are some fun, random pics of Vietnam that weren't shared in earlier posts:
Clay at High Tea at Caravelle hotel...what a treat. It was so relaxing to sit & watch the people go by as we sipped warm tea & munched on these delicatessens. Sipping tea & visiting with Nana at this hotel was one of our favorite afternoon activities.
A view of part of the Nolen's house...my lens wasn't wide enough to get the whole thing inside the gate
Sweet Mr. Nam (the driver of the Nolen's)...we miss you so!
Traditional Ao Dai garments worn by the Vietnamese women...it's somewhat hard to see with her on the other side of the bike, but you can get the jist of it!

The owner of YKC & Ky's wife (who just had their first baby!) is the one who is holding Parker. Oh, how I miss the ladies & Ky at YKC!!! They can seriously work some magic like nothing you've ever experienced before...Oh! And how do you like my haircut from last fall? (I don't have Ky here now to keep it looking that good! ha!) While I was there, I was treated to manicures, pedicures, a cut & style, full body massages & aromatherapy ear candling; I don't know if I've ever felt so relaxed in my life. Even when they did the cut & styles they spent 45 minutes just doing a special treatment on my hair along with a neck & scalp massage....ok, I'm going to cry if I don't stop talking about it...."Clay, I know what I want for Christmas! I just need an airline ticket, a driver & directions!" :)
When in Rome...
We spent a lot of time & 'ahem' other things too! at Mrs. Teresa's shop :) Mrs. Teresa was the sweetest & had the best jewelry store in all of downtown Vietnam!
Parker could get used to eating with chopsticks! ...at least playing with them if nothing else! :)
More fun things to see when driving down the road
Parker & Mrs. Nga (the housekeeper/cook/whatever she needed to do!)

Reasons we miss Mrs. Nga:
-because she loved us so & we love her too!
-her sweetness & generosity
-her delicious meals that were lovingly prepared for us at every meal
-the way she ironed our sheets, blue jeans, socks, underwear....(actually, this is what Clay misses most! ha ha! He said that one of his dreams is to come home & be able to sleep on freshly cleaned & ironed sheets every day....umm, yeah, so would you settle for the ironing part once a year...it'll be a special day for you baby!)
-her scrumptious cookies...I still HAVE to get that recipe...I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in them while over there
-the fresh fruit that she prepared for us each day
-how she washed & ironed our clothes, etc. from Tuesday & had them in drawers neatly folded ready to go on Wednesday by lunchtime...and repeated that every single day of the week. i still have no idea how she got those things to fold so perfectly! Ha ha! I remember us thinking on Friday, that we needed to make sure we chose our clothes wisely because she wouldn't be back to do laundry until Monday...and we had brought enough clothes for everyone for 2 WEEKS! Clay & I both laughed over that one! It's amazing how quickly you can get used to some things!
-how she took care & loved our sweet Parker!
We miss you Mrs. Nga!!!

Parker with one of the security guards on the property...he was a really nice guy & always was so excited to see us each day & hear about our adventures!
I was almost amazed at how many people could fit on these things...the most people I saw on one motorcycle while over there - 5 (2 adults, 2 children & a toddler)

Why do they wear those masks over their face? Pollution? Nope

It's to protect their skin from the sun...they don't want to be dark (especially the ladies)

What are those people doing out on the grass? They're cutting it....
Nana's school...it had beautiful grounds & spacious rooms. So nice to be able to get a tour of where she was teaching & working each day!
In Vietnam, they cut the grass with scissors...in other words, they literally manicure their lawns down to the smallest detail

Parker & Mr. Nam - Mr. Nam was so good with & to Parker while we were there. He even bought Parker this special little red bear that suctioned to the window so Parker could have something to play with on the days we had our long drives through the countryside & such.

1 comment:

GrannieT said...

Hi Carrie,
You can not imagine how much Papa and I have enjoyed your Chronicles of Vietnam! It was truly like a review of our times when we were there - with pictures of Parker added! All of those things brought back such wonderful memories for us. You are an amazing writer and photographer! Thanks so much for doing this. Grannie and Papa