Monday, May 2, 2011
It Was A Big Weekend
Did you get invited to the wedding on Friday? It was a big day for the bride and groom, but we had a great time too. We weren't actually able to get to Westminster Abbey, but we did get to the Snap Cafe in District Two, Ho Chi Minh City. There are a enough British expats working here that the British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) decided to celebrate the event locally. The Snap was a great choice - no clotted cream and scones but a big open space with a playground for the kids and lots of beer and popcorn.
Attendees were encouraged to dress for the wedding, but with 95F temperatures and a thatched roof hut for the venue there were only a few takers. There was one gent in a morning coat and a few women with large brimmed hats and hankies to mop their brows or dab their tears of joy. Most of us arrived before the TV coverage began and the atmosphere was very festive. There were two big screens (actually sheets hung from the posts and thatch) and bench seating. As opposed to the Abbey, this crowd was up and mingling and the kids were hanging from the monkey bars.
We settled down on a couch in the smaller of the two viewing venues and immediately made friends with the two women on the couch beside us. One of the women was a handsome black woman from Malaysia who came to Vietnam with her husband 20 years ago, divorced him and has been working ever since as a teacher in one of the independent schools. Her friend was a stylish upscale blond of a certain age who was born in North Borneo, raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK. She's the "girlfriend" of a Frenchman who runs a venture capital firm. As Kate and Will drove to the Abbey and walked down the aisle we introduced ourselves and did running commentary on the crowd, the car, the horses, the dress, the uniforms, the royals, the foliage in the nave, and the voice of the bishop. In the process we learned that North Borneo lady's brother is a world class sailor who has just opened a sailing school in MuiNe and the Malaysian woman has strong opinions about the death of Princess Diana. The incredibly wonderful thing about being an expat in Saigon is that you meet an endless chain of interesting people and these two were no exception.
As I sat down to write about the wedding and our new friends I learned that a Special Forces team raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden. It was a very big weekend. I wonder if Donald Trump will find a way to "be extremely proud" of his role in either event or perhaps question the reality of them.