Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lunch at a Dragon Fruit Farm February 1, 2011

Fr. Binh made plans for us to take a few days outside the city, in the countryside, and at the seashore. That led to lunch on a farm near Phan Tiet, staying at a resort in Mui Ne and then Starting the New year in Dalat, all beautiful places with fresh air, as opposed to the smog in Saigon.

The best part for me will always be lunch at a dragon fruit farm. Fr. Binh has a friend, Sr. Therese Thuy Phan, who is teaching and studying in Indiana. She grew up on a farm near Phan Tiet, near the coast a few hours by car north of Saigon on Highway 1. She invited us to visit her family there for lunch. We got to meet her mother, who just turned 80, and her brothers, sisters, in-laws and nieces and nephews. What a delightful family! We had a fantastic lunch of traditional Vietnamese food. We took American candy for the children and they sang us songs. Then we learned about cultivating one of the amazing tropical fruits of this region. We were only there for a short time but the memory of that visit will bring me joy for a long time.

Then we made our way to Mui Ne and stayed at a lovely resort, reminiscent of Hawaii, I’m told. We had a great seafood dinner by the beach and woke up to the most beautiful sunrise on the Feast of the Presentation, Feb. 2. It was delightful to pray Morning Prayer as the sun was rising over the waters. “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (From the Morning Prayer Canticle of Zechariah – Luke 1:78-79)

Sr. Thuy’s Family Farm.

Sr. Thuy’s Mother with Fr. Binh.

Mot, hai, ba YO! (One, two three CHEERS!)

Members of Sr. Thuy’s family.

The future of Vietnam.

Resting after lunch.

Getting ready to drink coconut juice.

I pretended that, after “struggling” to open the bag of candy, that none would come out. The children could not stop laughing.

Singing songs after lunch.

The children were fascinated with Marty’s video camera. He taped them singing and would show them the playback right away. The just loved him.

Learning about the dragon fruit plant.

The fruit is produced from a flower and is seen here at the early stage.

Full grown dragon fruit and cut to eat.

The dragon fruit orchard.

A group photo after a delightful visit. Again, notice the family shrine. A holy and happy family.

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