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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

September 1, 2008

Day 3
Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam


After 26 1/2  hours of travel, 8,475 miles, and 3 calendar days, we landed in SaiGon, officially titled Ho Chi Minh City, the morning of September 1st.  At the baggage claim, I was struck by how much of the "luggage" was merely boxes, bound in rope, cord, tape, string, plastic wrap, bungee cords, or most likely a combination of many of these. There were large machines at the airport the size of a washing machine, that were simply a big plastic wrap dispenser, to wrap boxes for transport.  Our luggage seemed fancy and expensive in comparison.  It was.

We had arranged for the hotel to pick us up at a the airport.  And low and behold, a van showed up just for us.  The van ride offered us our first taste of Asian hospitality.  Iced bottled waters and cool hand towels waiting for us in the van/taxi.  Really?  Yep.
SaiGon on the river


We made that 30 minute van ride with eyes that much have been the size of saucers.  I wanted to soak it all it.  This was T&J's homeland, and I didn't want to miss a single detail.  I remember feeling sad when I looked out the window on the left, that I'd miss all the sights on the right.  Water buffalo.  Rice fields.  Conical hats.  They really wore those funny hats!  Construction everywhere... evidence that this country was emerging and evolving quickly.  A huge metropolis of a city with towering high rises.  More scooters that I had imagined possible.  Pollution.  95 degrees and a constant mist in the air that I could only assume was 95% humidity.  My native Arizona lungs that were acclimated to "dry heat," seemed to have trouble sucking the air in.

We picked a western style, high-rise hotel in the center of the city in district 1, right on the Saigon River, mostly frequented by businessmen and American VeitNam veterans.  Complimentary breakfast, WiFi, and a pool, all paid for by our frequent flyer miles.  This type of luxury accommodation would not have been our first choice, but planning for the worse when we took on 2 infants, we thought it would be a safe bet to have western-style amenities.  In hind sight it was a good choice.  Most adoptive families travel in groups, offering support to one another through the travel process.  I had come to know so many wonderful families from our agency from blogs and emails.  But because of our USCIS delay, we traveled alone.  And this made me so sad.  In hind sight, it gave me every opportunity to focus on what was really important, uniting into one family with the children that would be ours.
Industry on the SaiGon River

It was Monday.  Tuesday was a national holiday, and that would give us 2 days, until Wednesday, to adjust to the time zone, get settled and take in some sights, before the babes came.  30 minutes into unpacking our suit cases and settling into our hotel room, the room's phone rang.  It was our Vietnamese adoption caseworkers.
If we could meet them in the lobby, we could get our babies today.  Would that be good?
Today?
Yes. today.
When?
In 20 minutes.
{How could we say no?  How could we possibly make those sweet babes wait even 1 more day without a mama and a papa and a family?}
Of course it's ok!  We'll meet you in the lobby in 20 minutes!
It was all adrenaline after that.

We threw together gift bags for the nannies and orphanage directors.  We rinsed off and threw on nicer clothing.  Camera.  Diaper bag.  Rattles.  In the rush, I forgot my camera's memory card and had to rely on the camera's very little built in memory, 24 low resolution frames.  We met our caseworkers in the lobby and hopped in the taxi for the 30 minute drive to Thu Duc Children's Village.  In less than an hour, we'd have our children in our arms!
The orphanage sign just outside the orphanage gates
Just outside the orphanage, the parking area

To be continued...

2 comments:

  1. Ohhhhh that is soooo not nice to leave us hanging like that!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry Adrian... my littles needed me!
    More tomorrow or next day. And in the end, since T&Js pics are here, y'all know how it ends, right?
    nancy

    ReplyDelete

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