Ho Chi Minh City, ( Saigon ) Vietnam.
"Going to Vietnam"
My Neighbour was going to Vietnam, to visit her Family over there and asked if I, would also like to go along ?
So I did. Well, having visited Singapore and the Philippines, Saigon was not, so much of a Culture shock. However, it was a bit like a trip back in time, as they are still, a little bit like it was then back in the 70’s in parts. A mixture of both modern buildings and old tawdry French ones.
Anyway, where I was headed was to an Orphanage. “The Sancta Maria Orphanage”, which my Neighbour's deceased Brother (Andre`) had founded and built. It was here on the top floor (of 3 floors) that the remaining Family lived. All the others left during the Evacuation period during the war, some legally by plane and others by boat. Most live in Sydney now and are living an Australian way of life.
Here, living on the top floor was the Nephew of Andre` with his wife and his 5 kids. (4 girls and a boy) All in their 20’s. The orphanage ceased to operate as one, soon after the 800 or so orphans (left by the American Soldiers) were adopted out to Families in Australia, America, and some even went to the UK. There are however, still 12 or so who live here (On the second floor). These are the ones, which nobody wanted to adopt, as they were blind, deaf Mentally unfit or crippled in some way. They are all in their 30’s now.
Its location is about 10 minutes from Saigon and about 15 minutes from the Airport, in between both, Away from the main, road but still surrounded by countless other smaller houses. Well, to cut to the chase… finally, this is (Obviously) where I met my wife Trinh, who is the eldest daughter, having 3 other sisters at; 26, 24, and 21. The 26 yr old ‘Giao’ is now actually living in Australia after marrying.
"Going back to LIVE there"
Our Marriage however, wasn’t ‘Arranged’ Marriage; We actually became quite fond of each other. I was originally there in Vietnam for a Month, and in that time knew her enough to know that we could be happy together, despite our age differences.
So, after returning to Australia I applied for her Immigration Papers and once they were in motion went back to Vietnam to wait with her for her Immigration Interview. All up that took about 18 months. And the day came when she had to say goodbye to her Family, her Friends, and her Country, and we left, going back to live in Australia.
"Going to SEE VIETNAM."
Having lot's of time there , we got to visit most places, spending as much as a month in some places.
Once we got the go ahead to leave Vietnam we spent two years back in Australia, but returned to live there for another, 2 years, this time with our 1 year old son.
SO; some of the places we visited (often 2 - 3 times each) were; My Tho, Can Tho, ( Mekong Delta ) Vung Tau, Long Hai, Mui Ne`,& Nha Trang, (Beachside Towns) Dalat, Bao Loc, (Central higlands) Phu Quoc Island, and the large Regional towns of Phan Thiet, Bien Hoa, & Cu Chi, and Binh Chau (Hot Water Springs Resort).
For Stories about the 2 years we lived in Vietnam go to;
After living in Saigon for 2 years we left to come back to live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in March 2005,