Sunday, February 17, 2008
After two days in SaiGon I was on my way to DaNang City to meet with the East Meets West Dental Clinic staff and the Global Humanitarian Dental volunteers. The outreach had been planned for months to be in Hoi An but no one expected this much rain. As you can see the Han river was cresting and coming over it's banks in spots. The countryside hadn't seen this much rain in 10 years people said. TI got the word the staff was stranded in Hoi An and I was unable to reach them by any means because the roads were flooded. The staff did finally make it back to town and a somewhat smaller version of the outreach was performed with much fanfare and robust enthusiasm by the staffs and the children. Except for 2 little waifs who were petrified to have their teeth worked on I believe there were about 100 children serviced that single day. We also had a fantastic lunch at a nearby restaurant. I'm always amazed at how the children respond to
Upon arrival at HCMC in the evening there was little change to the usual routine of baggage claim, customs clearence and so on but the necessity for a metered taxi at the transportation desk was nullified because all the taxi's are metered now. The same old scams were being tried such as offering a ride to district #1 for $30 USD but I declined and ended up paying slightly less than $5USD. My new hotel which I had never stayed in was located on the same street but 2 doors down from the Ngoc Ha. The Xuan Loc was moderately priced with the usual amenities that a small mini hotel has to offer. Clean rooms, hot water and a breakfast buffet. The staff was wonderful as they usually are in these small family run establishments. Afterwards my Viet Kieu friend's sister "cousin" Hang agreeded to show me to a local bistro for my first night's dinner. Clams, clams and more clams. Seems I can't get my fill of steamed clams, with lemongrass, chillis and scallions when I'm in VietNam. For the whopping price of $1.50 for 2 dozen I tend to indulge myself. This restaurant is located just off Le Loi St. between the Ben Thanh Market and The Rex Hotel, it's the Bourban Street Bistro. Hang (pronounced Hung) worked there while attending the University. The resident piano man played her favorite tune for her in honor of her return.....the food was really good!