Thursday, December 6, 2007

We Have Moved

Dear Friends,
You have arrived at the right place, a blog where friends have gathered in the last twelve months to rekindle and celebrate friendship. Now that the original purpose of the blog has been achieved with the most joyous reunion in Southern California last month, this blog is moving into a new territory, with a new collective administrator, Miss Couventine.

Point your browser to:

and bookmark the new site.

We promise the same fun provided by an expanded authorship. Please send me an email if you have material that you would like to see posted, or if you would like to be one of the blog authors.

Miss Couventine is an unpaid IT helper who has agreed to another year of service contract, while waiting for a member of the Class of 1970 to step up into the role of our blog administrator.

- Hà

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our Class Reunion in 2008

As we left our heart in Orange County last month where a most memorable gathering occurred, some of us begin to plan for next year's reunion. The Canadian group has stepped up and proposed a program based in Mont Tremblant, a ninety minute drive from Montreal. Exciting ideas are being circulated, coming from Hoài Thu and Bích Thạch.
This blog has had a prolific year, thanks to the contribution of the blog authors. It is time that we shift gear to let the Mont Tremblant organizers take charge. The Laurentian Mountains resort promises pristine air, rustic setting, many outdoor activities, and a picturesque pedestrian village.


Eh oui ! Pendant la semaine de "défoulement" tout est permis !

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dust of Life Beverly Hills Style

After the two exciting Vegas episodes related by Ha, we're going back to my chronicling of the last days' events to wrap up our escapade in California. On our fifth day together, November 6, we packed up to leave Sin City after a much shortened night's sleep. Breakfast at MGM was compliment of the house (right, Boi Tran?) since Boi Tran reminded us to use her comp card. We felt like nha que moi len tinh, being the newly baptized gamblers that we were, and thought that we could use a longer stay in Vegas. To put off our departure, we took a detour to Red Rock Canyon so we could see a bit of Nature. The main attraction in that conservation area is the layers of red and gray rock formation that are best described in Wikipedia. We left the Vegas area around 3 pm, and didn't get back to Orange County until after nightfall. By then, we were hungry, tired, and practically running on fumes. We took leave of S. Eliane after we dropped her off at Mme Tue Thu's home in Orange, met with Hoang Anh over a bowl of rice in Little Saigon, then said good-bye to Maria Dieu Khanh and Agnes Nhung. The brush fires around Southern California had mostly been put out by then, but I could have sworn there was still quite a bit of smoke in the air, otherwise why would some of us have tears in our eyes?

Still there were two more days to go for some of us. Hoang Anh took off with Evelyne and Gisele in tow to spend the night at her house, and the rest of us drove up to Suzanne's house in Monterey Park. We got there around 10 pm, and met up with Catherine Ngoc who had already arrived. Counting Suzanne, our most gracious hostess, we were 8 in her house that night (Suzanne, Hoai Thu, Kim Lieu, Quyen, me, Bich Thach, Catherine Ngoc, Ha). Boi Tran and Thanh Luong were staying at Boi Tran's. The next day, we took off to do some sightseeing around LA. Annette and Catherine escorted one group to go shopping. A smaller group went to the Getty Museum. Later we met up with Hoang Anh and company at Rodeo Drive for some more window shopping and a unique look at a real Beverly Hills mansion. It was great fun to have Ha be our tour guide. Some of us also had the opportunity to catch Ngoc Thu at home. I wasn't part of that group, so would defer to those who were present to tell the whole story. Apparently she treated them to a tai chi demonstration that was quite artful. When evening came, we found ourselves at a Korean BBQ restaurant at Annette's behest. It had gotten cold, and we were huddled around two mountains of thinly sliced beef and two round Korean style BBQ pits installed inside the dining tables. We ate and drank heartily. The group with Bich Thach, Evelyne, Gisele, Hoang Anh and Kim Lieu won the eating contest that night - they finished the mountain of meat. We left quite content, our bellies a little rounder than when we arrived, and our clothes still redolent of Korean BBQ No. 5.

The evening had just gotten started. After we left the restaurant, we raced to Pantages, a playhouse in Los Angeles on Hollywood Blvd, and sat through a performance of Wicked, a musical that is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Sadly to say, we did not do it justice, some of us couldn't keep our eyes open to fully enjoy the show.

Kim Lieu and Hoai Thu fell into bed as soon as we got back to Suzanne's, and we didn't hear a peep from them. They left at 6 am the next morning for Orange County to catch their plane at John Wayne Airport. We didn't say a proper goodbye, so I owe you a good bye, Hoai Thu and Kim Lieu. I didn't know you very well before this week, and am glad of the opportunity to get to know you. Most of us out-of-towners left that day, including the European contingent, but not before climbing up Suzanne's persimmon tree and picking some of the mouthwatering fruit. Catherine Ngoc took care of Ha and Bich Thach, and I left with Evelyne, Gisele, and Quyen. Our last ride on the van was one last time animated by the lively conversation between Gisele and Ba Nam Sa Dec, I mean Evelyne. I was glad because, on the way to the airport, I could not find the Avis parking lot to return the rental, and was panicking. We did find it at the last minute, and the rush to the airport ended with all of us arriving safely and on time. Phew! It was a close call.

We had had a full week. Some of us got the flu bug, others were stung by the love bug in the wedding chapel, or at least pretended to. Over all we did well and did not have any major mishap. All the preparations were well worth it, and I'd do it again at a moment's notice. For all of you who could not be a part of this experience, we send you our love and hope you will join us for more fun adventures. This is but a chapter in our lifelong feuilleton, so till next time. A suivre. Thai Vi

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Gamblers

On the second day of our visit to Las Vegas, the seven high rollers (Boi Tran, Thanh Luong, Thai Vi, Bich Thach, Quyen, Nhung and Ha) strolled into the VIP lounge of MGM after a fine dining experience at Bellagio. Our Most Serene (BT) walked in front of the group as if this were her old playground.

- “Walk and talk as if you belong here. Look confident as if you are about to call your banker to release the fund to MGM so that you will have a fun night tonight.”

At the refreshment counter, she flashed her VIP card. Some of us ordered our favorite cocktail (I ordered OJ!), some went for sweets and pastries. Once refreshed, the group of high rollers assembled around the slot machines. Four of us put in 20 dollars each. Boi Tran took the lead to pull the handles, then all of us took turn to pull the trigger until we have only a few bucks left. Thanh Luong, the most "con nha lanh" in our group, was asked to pull the last few ones before we called it quit. Three bonuses suddenly appeared. The amount won totalled 122 dollars, with all the excitement created by bells ringing and lights flashing. As any seasoned gamblers would do, we immediately divided up the catch: each of us got our 20 dollars back, the rest became a gift for Sr. Eliane.
Looking at our watch, it was now 3 AM, the time that high rollers like us would usually go to bed. I joined the gamblers in their room, quickly falling asleep with slot machines and money signs swirling in my dreams.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Vegas Chapel Story

OK, OK, the official story-teller of our group was not there to report this to you; I will try to fill her big shoes. Here it is.
The remnants of the now extinct band of musclées went on an exploration trip of the casinos on Monday afternoon while Thái Vi dutifully kept company of Sr. Eliane at our homebase in Luxor. Bích Thạch, Maria Diệu Khánh, Hoài Thu, Kim Liễu, Evelyne, Gisèle, Quyên, Nhung and I roamed the elegant halls looking at the gambling tables and the many shops, then on to the next casino when we saw a sign pointing to "The Chapel". We all wanted to know what a Vegas chapel looks like, not that we have not seen the interior of any chapel in our life. We wanted to know how a Vegas chapel and maybe the marriage process itself is different than what we knew. As any group of musclées would do, we took the elevator to the chapel without hesitation. Thạch and I walked straight into the office, inquiring.

- "How does one get married here?"

Of course, the lady looked at the two of us (remember how Bích Thạch dressed, and her hair cut?) and gave us a broad smile.

- "It can be done in the next few hours, and it costs about 1,000 dollars. We take care of all the paperwork; a minister will officiate the wedding; and a reception is provided at an additional cost".

We were shown the first chapel, then the second chapel, just like high-end customers were shown the expensive goods which they were going to spend their money on. The lady never questioned the improbability that these women were going to get married to each other in her Vegas chapel tonight!

We took turn taking pictures in couples.

When we were done seeing the inside of the chapels, Bích Thạch and I went out to thank the lady.

- "Thank you for showing us. We will think about what we are going to do." (Did she really think that Bích Thạch and I will exercice the option of same-sex marriage here?)

As we pinched ourselves to prevent the laughs from becoming audible, we rushed to the nearest washroom since we could not hold any further....


Arrêt technique pour la voiture et ses passagers !