The big bird got in to Saigon at 10:05 PM, Thursday, local time. My home is in the Eastern Time Zone which is 11 hours ahead of Saigon time. My heart was racing, in a good way, as I cleared customs and buggy-lugged my bags out of the terminal to find my friends. (One quick word on the terminal: it is incredible. As modern and efficient and visually impacting as any I have ever seen.)
I spotted Bao and Nghia in the crowd holding a sign with my name, (spelled correctly, I might add) but Bao spotted me and rushed forward with Nghia in tow. We hugged and damned near cried when I saw Nhan, Lan and Nhi, Nhan’s foster daughter. Lon was holding a bouquet of flowers. Last time I was here they threw grenades, not posies. We took a hire-car to Bao and Nghia’s house then on to my hotel, the “Hotel Galaxy”, a nice, brand new, hotel in Ba Ria near Nhan’s.
Everyone has been open and friendly. The Vietnamese I have met have been the most open and amicable people I have come across. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I feel better, stronger and in better spirits than I have in years…
Stay tuned… They are throwing a party of welcome tonight… Film at 11???