Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chaos Ballet

I am so impressed by the Vietnamese people. They are gentle, courteous, fun loving and patient. At least the people I have met.
(I bought a battery for my camera from this man.)

According to wikipedia,
With a population of over ~87 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies; according to government figures, GDP growth was 8.17% in 2006, the second fastest growth rate among countries in East Asia and the fastest in Southeast Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon) has a population of about 8 million.
I consider myself a pretty good driver, but I am SO glad that I have not had to drive in this city.
The term I came up with to describe the traffic is CHAOS BALLET.
I seriously don't know how people negotiate the traffic.
The city has many round-a-bouts. 4,5 or 6 streets may funnel to this one round a bout and thousands of bicycles, motorbikes, buses and cars converge, do a pirouette and exit on the other side!

Here is what wikipedia says about the traffic.
Recently, the number of motorcycles has increased to about 3 million. There are also over 500,000 automobiles, packing the city's arterial roads and making traffic congestion and air pollution common problems. If Beijing is "the City of Bicycles", then Ho Chi Minh City may be called "the City of Motorbikes". Visitors shouldn't consider the city's streets as dangerous due to the motorists' general behaviour of dodging pedestrians. In general most people follow traffic rules and enforcement of traffic law is improving. However, drivers can still be seen driving the wrong way up a one way street or ignoring red lights.

I have observed all of those things in that description!

Several times I have seen 4 on a motor bike and the driver talking on the cell phone!

What these people load onto their bikes and these three-wheeled "trucks" is mind boggling.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Yesterday, we arrived at the hotel at about 1PM on Saturday. After checking in and showering. We set out to look around. Across the street is an interesting shopping mall.

I needed to buy a battery for my camera and after a little while I felt myself fading. It was about 3:30 PM (3:30AM Chicago time) so we went into a nice coffee shop and I ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee.
WOW, it was stronger than straight espresso. I LOVED IT.
I've got to have another!

Posted 6:50 AM Sunday, October 28


When I am in another country, I love to try as much of the authentic food as is possible.
How many remember the scene from Indiana Jones, the banquet scene...

What a great evening. We were taken to dinner at COM NIEU SAI GON - Vietnamese Gastronomy Restaurant.
It was a blast!
Back to Indiana Jones - a couple of the guys suggested that our meal may be similar to that.

One of the first things they brought out was a very small dish of very small and VERY hot peppers... YUP, you're right. I used my chopsticks and popped one in. OH MY WORD was it hot.
And nothing on the table with which to extinguish the FIRE.
It was an interesting sensation to feel it burn all through my mouth and gravitate on to my lips.... A couple of other brave souls tried it as well. About 15 minutes later, I had lost burn. Cool...

We did no ordering for ourselves. Our friends ordered for us. There was a lobster dish that was great. Barbeque pork (not at all like b'que in the USA), fried sticky rice, sliced beef over bean sprouts that tasted like radishes with tomato slices.

There was a rice dish that is baked encased in clay. They break the clay at the table side - sounds like breaking a dish - take out the baked rice and toss it across the room to a waiter that catches it on a plate! That must be the origination of the "throwed roll."

There were many other dishes... I tried them all. Some I enjoyed, some I.... well, left alone.

It ended with papaya.

All of that cost $150,000. per person. That is in their currency - dong. Equivalent of about 10 dollars.

Posted at 6:20 AM, Sunday, October 28


My trip to Vietnam started in a somewhat unusual way.
As I passed through security at Terminal 3 at O'Hare, I noticed a kiosk, with two nurses standing there and a sign that stated "FLU SHOTS". I thought, "what an unusual place to be offering flu shots." I was early for my flight, so I pulled over, rolled up my sleeve and got my flu shot.

I arrived in San Francisco and 11:30 PM and met the other pastors and ministers and boarded our flight on to Taipei, Taiwan. I can heartily recommend EVA Air. That leg of the flight ended up being 13 hours.

One interesting feature was the screen on the back of the seat in front of you where you could keep yourself posted on the progress of the aircraft. This screen was when we were still 4,000 miles away and had 5 1/2 hours to go.

Looking at this screen caused me to realize just how close in proximity all of these nations and major cities are. Fascinating... at least to those who love maps and geography.

I need to go to bed. It is now 9:20 PM. It is exactly 12 hours different from Chicago. We are going to a church service in the AM. It is to be an eventful and historic service.

Also, I will blog tomorrow about the fabulous and interesting authentic Vietnamese meal we had tonight.

Good night America!

By the way, don't be confused by the time stamp. It is off because it is based on USA Central Standard Time. Also, it is rather challenging to use BLOGGER, all of the directions are in the Vietnamese language.
I think I did pretty well!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dangerous Driver

Have you seen people doing dangerous behaviors?
As I was driving down Essington, I noticed someone driving along and reading a novel.
I may not have noticed except they were weaving within their lane. Traffic was going the speed limit and traffic was somewhat heavy. I was afraid I was going to witness a "rear-ender".

I wonder what the title of the book was?
Maybe you can suggest a title.

I found a good one on Drive Without Fear: The Insecure Driver's Guide to Independence (Paperback)
by Norman Klein (Author)

Go ahead, I want to hear your book title ideas.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Table

Two weekends ago, I preached about the importance of The TABLE.
Families need to be intentional and have times together.
The best place is the table.

Tonight, the ladies of our home prepared an AWESOME meal. It was our own personal Benihana menu... without the flying knives!

Here is my empty plate. No, those are bean sprouts left over on my plate.

After the meal and a wonderful time of conversation, we prayed, thanked God for each other and I had the privilege of blessing each of my family.

We had communion together.

I practice what I preach. If you want to hear the sermon, you can download it.

(Don't worry, it's grapejuice)


I love my daughter. She is AWESOME!

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

There is nothing better than going to see the White Sox with your family!

Yes, we were in the "nose bleed" section!

It was a great game. The Sox won... BIG and a Thornton pitched.... I'm sure he's related somewhere.
Thank God for a fun and loving family!