Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Vietnam Cultural Tradition

Today was another great day (we won't comment on the night yet again :-) ).  After a lazy morning and pancake breakfast, Logan, Li Lin and I made a run to the local Big C (a close by grocery store located in the basement of a pretty high-end mall) to pick up some baby necessities - diapers, wipes, baby food, formula (it feels weird being back into baby-mode this way!).  On our way out, we stopped by Bread Talk, a great little bakery/coffee shop.  We were going to pick up some Vietnamese buns for lunch, but instead noticed this great sign.
Decorative buns at Bread Talk
With these cute little carriers, I could carry 5 iced drinks in one hand!
Yep, that's right.  29 000 dong for a sandwich and drink.  Sounds like lots.  But basically a US dollar is worth about 20 000 dong.  So, for about $10, we bought six sandwiches and drinks, and had enough leftover for the $1.50 cab ride home!

While Jadon napped the four oldest and I went for a swim.  Li Lin was persistent in trying and finally was able to swim the width of the pool without any help whatsoever (other than a cheering daddy close by).  She and Hudson have improved tremendously.  I figure a couple weeks here will be worth two levels of swimming lessons! 
A gorgeous group of wonderful kids!  We are blessed!
When Jadon woke up we hopped into a cab and headed out to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater. 
Hudson liked the water buffalo

Li Lin and Rykauna posing with a life-size model of a water puppet
Daddy and Jadon carrying the Ho Chi Minh City Tour Book.  He really likes it!
Now water puppets are as traditional a Vietnamese thing as their hats (which many people do wear around).  They have been preforming this type of show since the 1100s... that's over 900 years!  It was fascinating.  The 50 minute show had 16 scenes plus a musical prelude.  There were 6 musician/singers/chanters (three on each side) playing a variety of traditional drums, flutes and string instruments.  The puppets were controlled by  men standing in water, hidden behind some  .  The puppets themselves are made mostly of wood and the whole show plays out on water.  It makes for some interesting and really life-like movements.  The play depicts activities in traditional Vietnamese rural life - farming, working with oxen, fishing, kids playing - as well as scenes involving dragons, lions and phoenixes.  We all enjoyed it and Jadon was at times swaying along with what is likely some familiar music.
Procession celebrating the nation-wide exam winner
Li Lin liked the "Dance of Fairies"
Two men plowing with water buffaloes

Dragons squirting water

A fire-breathing dragon in the last scene
After the play we walked behind the theater, through a sports/activity area with ping pong, tennis, basketball, volleyball, a fitness center including zumba classes to a buffet restaurant where we ate a great meal for about $8 each.  In contrast, a box of imported cereal like Fruit Loops (which unfortunately we have resorted to for breakfast a couple of times) would be about $6!  Much better value tonight!
Here's our buffet from the outside
and from the inside
Sara and Jadon
Hudson and Logan
Rykauna and Li Lin
Continuing to expand the variety of meats.  Amazing shrimp... jumbo snails!
I was crushing the shells until a waiter brought me a toothpick to fish out the edible inside.  Mmmm
Jadon went down better this evening.  He has quickly grown accustomed to being cuddled and snuggled to bed, and seeing as he likely went through many, many nights of his life falling asleep on his own, Sara does not mind the extra snuggle time it takes to help Jadon feel the love that surrounds him.  Here's hoping for a better sleep tonight!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful day. So glad you are getting to be tourists a little. So glad the kids are also becoming fishes. Please tell Hudson and LiLin how proud Grand-maman is of them.
    I am actually proud of all of you. Beautiful pictures of the 5 kids. Large and beautiful.
    Love the pictures of the water puppets.
    Keep having fun and staying healthy.
    Love you all. Grand-maman xoxoxo

  2. We are so thankful that Jadon has accepted his new family so well. The Lord bless you all and keep you safe.
    Love and Prayers,
    Dad & Mom

  3. Just love looking at all of the pictures...seriously check this so often I think I'm addicted!! Really hoping you are able to get some more sleep soon. Jadon is beyond precious as are all of your kiddos. Praying. Lots. Pam xx