Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dinner with Friends

Last night we had dinner with some friends. It had been almost four months since we'd seen Betsye because she went home to the States to have her baby just after we moved to Vietnam. We got to meet their cute little Jackson for the first time and welcome Betsye back.

I brought them dinner, some awesome homemade pizza. I made Chicken Bacon BBQ Pizza, and Vegetarian Mexican Pizza. They both turned out pretty good.

We had a really great time visiting with them and it made us realize that we wanted to hang out with them more. Terryn fell in love with their dog, Baxter.
That poor little dog. Terryn just wouldn't leave him alone. He kept trying to sit by him, hug him, pet him, kiss him and head butt him. I think it was the last one that made Baxter nervous to be around him.
The Szvobodas watched Terryn for a little while so we could visit with Johnny and Betsye without having to chase him around all the time. I'm so glad they did. It made for a very pleasant evening. I think Terryn also had more fun over there than he would have with us, since all the boys just adore him.
Little Jackson was so adorable. I was surprised at how quiet he was. He only cried when we was hungry, but other than that he was just really quiet. Terryn was never that quiet as a baby. He was always singing, grunting or making other noises.
We look forward to hanging out more with everybody once we come back from the States.

Moon Festival Lantern

In one of my last posts, I mentioned the lanterns that people bring out for the Moon Festival. They are very colorful and come in so many different shapes and sizes. I decided to get one for Terryn since it only cost like $1.
Here he is showing off his boat. I wanted to get him this sweet dragon lantern, but it was HUGE and the paper was torn. There was also an elephant one that I thought would have been fun to get, but the boat was the best looking one and the least damaged. I think the city was winding down their sale of lanterns, so I had to choose from the remaining heap of lanterns.
We now have the lantern hanging up on Terryn's wall. He thinks it's pretty cool.
He has toy cars, planes, helicopters, trains... and now he has a boat.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Moon Festival

On Wednesday, we decided to check out this "Moon Festival" that everyone keeps talking about. One of Sean's co-workers said that there was a big to-do about it in District 5. We got a taxi and set out looking for this big party.

Traffic was CRAZY! By the time we hit District 1, we were crawling. There were so many motorbikes. I snapped this picture as we were stuck in the round-about in front of Ben Thanh Market. It was crazy! Terryn had a good time waving at all the people on the motorbikes.
They had a huge stage and screen set up nearby. This picture isn't in focus, but you can kinda make out the flags of Vietnam and the dragons.
Here's one of the many Kinh Do stands that are set up around the city selling Moon Cakes.
We finally made it to the place where many families were celebrating the Moon Festival. Many kids had toys and lanterns in their hands. There were many amusement park rides set up so the kids could have a fun time.
Here's a family with their lantern aglow.
Sean and Terryn decided to take a turn at one of the rides.
Terryn got to ride a dolphin around and around.
Everytime they would pass by me, I would try to snap their picture as they would wave.
Most of the time they were going too fast to get a clear picture.
I think both Daddy and Terryn had a good time.

By the time we made it home, it was pretty late and Terryn was tuckered out. It wasn't as cool as I was hoping, but it was neat to see all the families with the lanterns. I'm just sorry I didn't get better pictures of the event.

The Motorbike

So we got a motorbike awhile ago. I bought it for pretty cheap, but it is an older bike. We figured this would be a good start-out bike for us. It will be mainly for running errands within District 2.We all have helmets and have been on it as a family a couple times. Terryn loves it. He likes to put on his helmet, step on the bike and then hold onto the legs of whoever is driving it.
Here he is demonstrating the "cuddle hold".
Here's Sean and Terryn taking a spin around our street.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The View from my Back Door

As I was collecting my laundry from upstairs... I noticed the sky. Wow.
The sunset was pretty amazing so I rushed downstairs and grabbed my camera.
I snapped a few shots and tried some different settings to hopefully capture all the colors.
Pictures never seem to look the same as what you see for real, but these aren't too far from the real thing.
I do love the view from our top floor balcony. My favorite is the silhouette of the pagoda in the distance.

Friday, September 17, 2010

When Streets Become Rivers

Yesterday Terryn and I went into District 1 to run an errand. By the time we got into the taxi to come home it had been raining for about 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes in the taxi, the city was already flooding. These pictures are not mine, but they demonstrate what I'm talking about.

As I'm looking out the window of the taxi with lightning streaking across the sky, I no longer see streets, but a river that was once a road. The curbs have disappeared and the water has hidden the dirt, filth and pot holes of the Saigon streets.

The people on motorbikes are completely soaked. They wear ponchos, but that doesn't protect their legs from the splashing of passing cars. Each passing car causes waves that flow over the sidewalks.
People in the stores are building make-shift dams so the river doesn't flood their store and ruin their goods. They all already seem to have the supplies for it since this happens every once in awhile. It is the rainy season here. The corrugated aluminum roofs that form the eaves of buildings are now waterfalls.
I even saw two people bailing out their store as the hole in their roof allowed water to pour in and flood everything. Trash was floating by, following the current of the newly formed waterway.

The thunder and lightning continued on for about three hours or so. Everyone in the city seemed to take a hiatus from selling, some from driving. Then when it was over and the waters receded... it was back to life as usual.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Saigon Zoo

Chelsey, thank goodness, got Terryn and I out of the house today. We went to the Saigon Zoo. It's funny, I think I've passed by the zoo a hundred times and never knew that's where it was. Heh heh... I guess that's why it would be good if I learned some more Vietnamese.

So Chelsey, her boys, her friend, her friend's three month old daughter, Terryn and I all wandered around the zoo for about two hours or so. It only cost like 60₵ to get in. In the states it's like what... $30 or something ridiculous? Anyway, it was pretty dang hot and it was still the morning. We started off looking at the zebras, ostriches and giraffes. They were all in the same pen.
The boys loved the zebras. They just stood and stared at them until they moved on.

Then we wandered around and saw some small cats. They all looked really hot and depressed in their cages. Poor animals.
Eventually we made it to where they have a bunch of different types of deer. You could get really close to these ones, which Terryn thought was pretty awesome.
Then it was up onto the bridge where you look down at the deer. Terryn thought that was pretty cool too. Then Terryn started getting cranky and wanted to get in his stroller. I think he was getting sleepy and hot. Not a good combo, but eventually he chilled out enough to look at some more animals.
He liked watching these deer eat. At one point they were all looking up at us.

The definitive high point of the trip was the elephants. The boys loved them. Some people were feeding the elephants sugarcane. It was cool to see them grab them with their trunks and then eat them.
I wish all the boys were looking in the picture, because I think it looks like the elephants is smiling. Hahahaha.
Ah ha! Now we can at least see all their faces.
This picture makes me laugh. Terryn is showing everybody what sound an elephant makes.
The funny thing was that when we entered the zoo, we saw the elephants in the distance walking around the grounds. That was kind of random.
Maybe next time we come to the zoo, we'll actually feed the elephants or take a ride on one.
I kept asking the boys to say, "Cheese!" in the pictures. I think Terryn is actually saying it in this picture. It makes him look a little mad though.
The boys had a great time. Here's us on the way home with Terryn being the ham that he is. Terryn crash pretty hard when we got home, which allowed me to get some stuff done.... like post this blog. Yea!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Little Monkey

Terryn has become a little monkey. He climbs on everything. I couldn't believe it the other day when he climbed up on the kitchen counter. "What the what?!!!" Now nothing is safe.

Taking down the decorations

So I decided it was time take down Sean's birthday decorations. I figured I'd let Terryn have some fun with it. I let him chase around the balloons, sit in a pile of crepe paper and run around with the streamers.
He loved it. He kept picking up streamers and running back and forth around the dining room.
He would take the whole pile of decorations and move it to another place. And then he'd do it again.
Here he is showing me the Y.
He didn't really like the tape that much. It would stick to his fingers and then he wouldn't be able to get it off. He's making a face in this picture because of the tape. Sometimes he would take the streamers and make necklaces out of the letters. It was like big baby bling-bling.
Here he is with a cape-o-streamers.
Kids crack me up. Anything new can be considered a toy. It seems like the wrappers or the packaging is always the funnest part of things.
Terryn even helped me clean everything up when we were done. He's become quite the good little helper.

Moon Cake

So ever since we got back from Singapore, these "Kinh Do" stands have been popping up everywhere selling Moon Cakes. I didn't really know what the big deal was, so of course, I Googled it. Apparently the first part of September is the Lunar Festival or Harvest Festival. I think it falls at a slightly different time every year. It's according to the Chinese calendar. I think it's the eighth month or something.Anywayz, one of the things that become popular are moon cakes. Children receive these cakes, other types of candy and gifts all throughout the festival for about three weeks. They say that children receive the most presents during this festival than any of the others throughout the year.
I decided it was high time that I tried one of these innocuous looking pastries.
I walked down our busy little street a ways and found a Kinh Do stand. I bought a cake and Terryn and I went home and tried it out. I was surprised that it had a center. I thought it would be more cakey, but it was a pretty dense consistency.
I cut up a few small pieces and let Terryn try it out.
At first he tasted slowly and then he started chewing a bigger piece. I thought... "Hmmm... he must like this."
He looked up at me and smiled. And then he spit the piece out and wouldn't try it again. Hahahaha.... I guess he didn't like it after all.

To be honest, I have to concur with Terryn. I thought it was bland and kind of awful. I would eat it if there was nothing else to eat, but if I had a choice... I think I'd pass. So much for Moon Cake.