Saturday, February 13, 2010

Goodbye Vietnam - Hola Mexico

It's not the open-air plank toilet over a stream or the thought of bedbugs that has made us postpone a trip Vietnam, because we've done enough reading to know we would not be traveling the same way Karin Muller describes in her book, Hitchhiking Vietnam. (See Where Should We Go Next? article below.) It's a birthday that has stopped us cold.

No, it's not David's or my birthday. It's Vietnam's. The country is turning 1,000 years old, and its millennium celebration is going to be a crowd-filled twelve-month-long gala event. We've decided any year but 2010 is a better time to visit.

This would be a disappointment to us if we hadn't gotten an invitation from some friends of mine. The friends have a lovely two-bedroom, two-bath house in Ajijic, Mexico, but need a house/pet sitter for the summer while they're at their summer place in Vermont. They've offered their spacious house with gardeners and weekly maid service, the use of a computer and a car, in return for loving their two cats. We couldn't say yes fast enough!

We will be there for a month and another friend of mine, who's working on her second bi-lingual children's book, will cover the rest of the summer. That should be just the right amount of time to introduce David to the village where I lived for four years after I left North Carolina; to visit San Miguel de Allende, a world heritage site; and to tour Guanajuato, a colonial gem of a city with underground tunnels.

Best of all, we will walk down cobblestone streets, lined with plumeria and orchid trees, where purple, red and orange bougainvilleas tumble over the walls. We'll eat fresh bolillos and fruit that's still warm from the fields. Fireworks and church bells will interrupt the quiet of ordinary days. Friends will join us for lunch, and we'll linger at the table as long as we can. For these are moments to treasure, and we want to savor each one.

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