Bear visit 

My son is here. He had a cold and fever when he arrived so the first 2 days were sucky. He sweated out the fever, took Zicam and feels better, not well but better.

He’s accomplished the big important stuff like talking to an immigration attorney for his wife. He got his drivers learner’s permit. He had the chicken fried steak sandwich. Now he’s hanging out with 2 of his friends, guys who went to the wedding.  He’s getting through the culture shock, mostly through food.

I took him to Dollar Tree, and he bought this for me.

Historic visit to Braum’s 

We went to Dennys, he marveled at the fast service and thst they got his order right, even let him substitute biscuits for toast. I had a veggie omelet.

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Update of sorts 

I’m waiting for my son to arrive this evening. So far I’ve done 2 loads of laundry, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms and bought some Cool Ranch doritos. So I’ve got 5 hours to kill. He’s on his way to Detroit and then here. I told him if he has time during the layover to bring me anything Wings related but his layover is a short one so not likely.  On the advice of my friend I made this sign and will be holding it up at the airport.

Since we have Internet again I’ve been online, and found this. I like it better than the original, she seems to really be enjoying herself whereas Maurice was a little wistful and resigned.

Mid Autumn festival 

I went to the Moon festival, also known as the Lunar festival and Mid Autumn festival. It’s a big deal in VN, there’s moon cakes and people go out, but here it’s pretty low-key.  There are no Moon festival sales.

It’s weird to be an outsider visiting another people’s culture and trying to be respectful and not pandering or being in the way. It’s kind of nice, in a way. I saw parallels between the Lunar festival and powwows I’ve been to before. MCs and staff acknowledging sponsors, giving awards and recognizing prominent people, and technical difficulties with sound systems. Announcements in two or more languages. Kids walking around in traditional clothes they have to be careful of, adults in traditional clothes they wear on rare occasions and lots of other people looking and taking pictures of things they see as foreign, exotic and well, quaint. I was a little disheartened to see they had a Little Miss pageant. As watched I wondered if there was some little chubby, awkward Vietnamese girl out there in the audience disappointing her mother the same way I disappointed mine by not being princess material. I also saw a young guy who took my breath away. He looked like Jerry when he was younger, from his blue plaid shirt to his hiking boots. He even stood like Jerry. There were tears rolling down my cheeks and I tried not to stare at him but the sameness was impossible to ignore. I felt a little embarrassed and relieved when I lost sight of him. 

While I was there I bought some egg rolls and hung back looking around and taking bad phone pictures. There are better pictures on the OK Vietnamese community facebook page.

Weekend 

I went to see Depeche Mode in Dallas, first time in 3 years.

I wanted to hit some thrift stores but got lost and ended up near Love Field. Found a Sally Ann, huge store but overpriced but those could just be Dallas prices. Bought a black button up shirt for work, 6.99 and Boynton kids book .99. Perhaps another time

Doraemon came along for the ride

This dude was doing 25 mph on the highway. Even the cows on the side of the road looked disapproving.

The vest was uncomfortable and squished my boobs. My basic hotel room.

Wondered if Fletch has a side business. 

Tells the story of it all. I got nachos instead.

I love this family. They were nice enough to pose for photos for squealing fans. Like me.

Crappy phone picture of Martin. I watched the show, will enjoy other people’s better concert photos. I was in the cheap seats, close to the lawn

After the show, waiting for the adrenaline to fade

Condensation on my sunglasses

My friend Gayle, still beautiful. We had lunch Saturday. She lives in Dallas 

The mall is a dangerous place 

I went to the mall today, the first time in months. I know that it isn’t good for me, I see stuff I want and things I think I need. I am usually broke or my money is already allotted for bills, either way I can’t spend it. 

I did buy something, a blue cotton rug for my room. I got it on sale at Dillard’s for $7. I went looking to see what kind of clothes are in the stores, not so much to buy but just to look. Then if I liked anything I saw to look for similar stuff at the thrifts. Or so I told myself. 

I didn’t make it beyond housewares. I had lunch before in the food court and it quickly and violently disagreed with me. I was in the bathroom a long time and all I wanted after was to take my clammy, queasy self home. Window shopping be darned.

It is the back to school season and though I haven’t been to school in years I still want new clothes. 

It’s also looking at my clothes, my jeans in particular and realizing they need to be replaced.  The hems of several pairs are fraying and they look worn, not in the intentional sense just old. 

I look like the Before in a makeover. 

I don’t want cheap trendy clothes or uncomfortable clothes or shoes. But I want updated versions of the stuff I have. A couple of pairs of jeans or pants, some new tops and dresses or skirts I can wear to Mass. My real quest is for dress shoes, low heeled but not geriatric. 

Though I never made it downstairs I did see some Pendleton luggage I really wanted. Though I have one 25 in. suitcase already, don’t plan to go anywhere and probably won’t need them, I was thinking how cool they looked. I even told myself they would be easy to find on the luggage carousel and I’d look good pulling them through an airport. They were on sale and it’s not likely I’d find all the pieces together again like this.  I could have bought the biggest suitcase or two of the smaller ones or I could pay my car insurance this month. I walked away before I started to think about it. Feeling lousy helped. So whatever made me sick today, I owe you. 

Maybe I don’t need car insurance. 

But I still need clothes. I like window shopping, it’s usually safe. I rarely buy anything. I am used to thrift store prices and freak out from sticker shock. Frankly most clothes, aside from underwear, are okay to buy used. When I worked at Lane Bryant I saw clothes sent to the dry cleaners to remove stains and even funk before they were put back on the floor. The idea that new clothes were pristine vanished. The main downside with thrift stores is a top, dress or pants will come in only one size or color, and if it is too small, big, long, short or a color I don’t like, too bad.  But I might consider something different because it’s less than $5 and if it doesn’t work I can donate it back. 

Even though the mall on the weekend is crowded, more hectic and prone to bad overhead music, I’m thinking about going back tomorrow.  I will avoid housewares, luggage, all stores and departments but women’s clothes. And the food court.

Miscellaneous stuff I left out

I always learn new things when I travel. I see and eat things and have experiences I wouldn’t have at home. Overall it’s a good thing. However there are a few things I wished I knew before and will hopefully remember next time.

  1. An empty plastic water bottle is your best friend.  You can re-fill that bad boy as often as needed for free from airport water fountains and save a buttload of money on bottled water. Also empty it, chug that precious water before going through customs or security.
  2. Bring favorite packaged food, for yourself and as a gift from foreign parts. This obviously applies internationally but regionally too. My brother-in-law brought a ton of Ale8 home to OK from KY. I wished I had brought protein bars and Diet Sprite to Saigon. Put chips, a muffin or anything non-liquid in your carryon, you will be glad you did.  
  3. Consider using a backpack for your caŕryon. Not only can you stuff a lot into it but use it once you arrive at your destination. I used mine when souvenir shopping, sightseeing and just getting around, made my life easier.Best $3 I spent, bought on sale at Wal-Mart 
  4. Wear comfortable clothes, especially comfortable shoes that come off and on easily. Important for  domestic security  (international didn’t care ). If you don’t have stinky sweaty feet you might slip off the shoes during a long butt numbing flight, as long as you put them on when you leave your seat. 
  5. Neck pillow. You may look goofy wearing it through the airport ( I know I did) but it’s worth it, especially on long butt numbing flight. Coopmart, 99,000 VND, about $4.35 USD, best souvenir ever
  6. Backup  earbuds/headphones for phone, laptop or tablet. 
  7. Uber app, just in case. Cheaper than cabs. 
  8. Depending on airline, a sturdy taped up box can qualify as luggage and be checked as baggage. As long as your name and address are on it in big, easy to read letters it’s probably a go. If I go back to Saigon I am so doing this. 
  9. Thank everybody you meet or encounter along the way. A lot of people are jerks when they travel and good service often goes unappreciated so be nice. 

I’m back

I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures.  My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below

I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.

www.fashiontvplus.com 

click on “fashion films”

The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds

This was my room, the first night. Upgrade

My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge

From breakfast buffet

Good but no syrup

What I really came for

Tiger and Bear, Korean version

I think that’s spam but don’t quote me

Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport

Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books

Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC?  Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead