what a day

Today was another one of joy and sorrow, solemn remembrance and joyous visioneering. I am too tired to write about all of my day, so short captions will have to do.

The day began with an excellent lecture by two of the premier environmental scientists in Vietnam on the state of environmental protection in Vietnam
Then it was off to the Unification museum- the former presidential palace which has been preserved in the exact condition it was in in on April 30, 1975, the day South Vietnam surrendered- on the second floor of this building. In this room
Next was the War Remembrance Museum, a heart breaking, gut wrenching museum on the war. Yes, the history section has some propagandized narrative, but most of the museum are photographic displays that speak volumes and need no propaganda attached- like the photo below. I will speak more to the war when we get back from the Mekong Delta.
Then it was off to meet with the Literature and Linguistics faculty of Vietnam National University’s, University of Social Sciences and Humanities Ho Chi Minh City. We heard a fascinating lecture on the modernization of Vietnamese literature- from influences of the Chinese and then the French. A raucous discussion ensued on the question of modern Vietnamese literature and the issue of identity given the issues of the American War, Communism, Doi Moi, and tradition
We ended the day at Mint Culinary School for a cooking lesson and so much more. Phan Ton Tinh Hai Gave us a lesson on making fried and fresh spring rolls and then we had a great dinner prepared by her students. Hai is a judge on the Asian Iron Chef and is a wonderful talent. Her husband is an ethnomusicologist and gave us a lecture and concert of Vietnamese ethnic musical instruments representing several cultures of the Central Highlands.

Now off to bed and we head out early tomorrow to spend two days doing homestays in the Mekong Delta- very excited for that!!!


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