Taking in Saigon by Foot

Writing about April 3, 2010

Tricia Houston

At 10:00 on Saturday, April 3, we met for a city tour lead by the inspirational Son Michael Pham. He is the founder of Kids Without Borders (http://www.kidswithnoborders.org/Home.asp) and does so much for Go Vap Orphanage here. He has arranged buses for our tours and local press interest. The tour began with Son Michael inducing me to a local journalist who is covering our 35th Anniversary Reunion. The newspaper already did an article on my beautiful friend, Kim Browne, who volunteers at her orphanage, Go Vap, http://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20100403230041.aspx.The reporter, Luong Nguyen An Dien, interviewed me and then I was asked to arrange interviews with adoptees who are Galaxy C-5A crash survivors. That is my job as media coordinator for the reunion. Another media interest from home followed us on this tour. The producers hope that the History Channel picks up the project for a future airing.

Our tour was of the landmarks from the war (former embassy buildings) and the current landmarks of the city. As our small group walked in front of the British Consulate, an official was rushing us along who did not like that we were walking by the building with cameras. Son Michael told us to not take pictures.

We went to the rooftop of a new hotel, Sofitel Hotel (http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-2077-sofitel-saigon-plaza/index.shtml), to see the city from above. It was an amazing. As I was exiting the modern hotel, there was a young female employee who opened the door for me. I recognized my Vietnamese name on her gold colored name tag. It was a reminder of what my life could have been like if I had not been airlifted out.
As my body felt more of the heat, we continued on to the Old Post Office, where one can buys stamps, make international calls, and use an ATM. Nearby, we were disappointed that the Notre Dame Cathedral was closed. The staff was probably preparing for tomorrow’s Easter services. We ate lunch at a local and very modern shopping mall. It was a meal of good protein of BBQ pork before we continued onto the Ben Thanh Market. At the market, some of us ladies wanted to buy traditional Vietnamese dresses. However, due to the heat, I was not focused on choosing fabrics. I will do that Wednesday with Tho’s sister, Mai, and her son. Tho was a volunteer at Baby Home, who told her sister I was visiting and needed help in purchasing a dress.

It was a day of getting to know my birth home as I think I was born in Saigon. This was what I wanted out of the trip to know my birth culture in a form of historic landmarks and walking among the Vietnamese people.


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  1. #1  Jane

    I’m so excited for you. I can only imagine the plethora of emotions you must be having. May each emotion be the glue that connects the jigsaw of your life.

    10/04/05 15:33

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