Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh Christmas wrapping paper...where art thou?

I thought I was so clever.
When we packed up our house in England, 
I divided the contents.
Part of our shipment followed us to Vietnam, 
and the other half set sail to the USA.

I explicitly marked the Christmas boxes that
I wanted to go to Vietnam.
I guess I must have been distracted.
In opening them the other day I discovered..
those odds and ends for winter weather.
Ice scrapers, shovels....the sort of things 
I will have absolutely no use for in Vietnam.

But most disappointing is my 25 year collection 
of Christmas wrapping paper.
I imagine it is tucked away in the container, 
in a warehouse, in Boston.
Not helpful.

Not surprisingly, there is not a large selection
 of Christmas wrapping paper in Vietnam.
I decided creativity and ingenuity must prevail.
When in Vietnam do as the Vietnamese do.

In fact, I am kind of glad that I had to move on.
I am enjoying the change of pace.
I was lucky enough to grab a few things at
 French Christmas market in our compound.

My wrapping paper of choice...

9 Nguyen Phuc Chu An Hoi

Their gift paper is hand screened...with a choice of 
three symbols and their meanings. A nice touch, to pass
on the message to one who receives a gift wrapped in this paper.

The Owl
Ruler of the night,
seer of souls and a true keeper of spirits.
A symbol of wisdom, mystery
protections and secrets.

The Fish
Water is a universal symbol 
of subconscious and depth of knowledge
the fish representing transformation 
and creations
A symbol of fertility, creativity, feminity and
good luck.

The Bird
Air animals assist us with matters of 
higher knowledge- heralding our desires 
to the gods in the skies.
A symbol of communciaiton,
 curiosity, vibrancy and clarity.

Christmas wrapping just took on a whole new meaning for me!

A few coulourful accents go a long way.

I came across these little tags at another booth...
I wish I had grabbed a card..they are a lot of fun. the paper below may not be on a Christmas theme
but I was happy to have found it. I think it works in
a tropical climate. I may be stretching that one a bit...but
I am going to go with it.

Last but not least...when in doubt. 
I pulled out the stack of London Review of Books newspapers 
that I have not been able to part with.
It is time.
Perfect for small gifts...and interesting reading too!

Christmas paper....check
Sending Christmas presents overseas...
more difficult than anticipated.
It involves clearances by the post office, 
paying a tax for sending the item
 and wrapping gifts in the post office.

I think I will be passing out Christmas gifts 
for months to come during my 2013 travels.
That makes the wrapping paper just perfect! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A night of Tchaikovsky in Saigon

The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City 
is also known as the Saigon Opera House.
It is in the heart of the city on Donh Khoi street. 
If you travel to Ho Chi Minh will be
hard to miss.

I admit I wasn't sure what to expect and I walked away 
pleasantly surprised. The Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera 
was outstanding. Accompanying the Orchestra, were visiting artists..

Cello: Filip Tomic
Piano: Boris Kraljevic 

My favourite from the evening..
Variations on a Roccoco theme, op 33. for cello and orchestra
Love the cello!

Views from the front stairs of the Opera House..

 The theatre is small and simple compared to world class stages.
No matter, when they started to play, it was pure enjoyment.
Close your eyes and you were transported to Carnegie Hall.
A night with Tchaikovsky..a night to remember.

Variations on a Roccoco theme, op 33. for cello and orchestra
Cello performed by Yo Yo Ma

Photos by Jeanne Henriques

Friday, December 14, 2012

His and Chateau Mango

I had a pleasant surprise recently.
I discovered that our gardener, Mr. Thuan, 
moonlights as an artist by night.

When he asked if I would like to have a painting by him..I did not hesitate.
He asked for a sample and I gave him a painting,
recently purchased in the local markets.

My painting is on wood and highlighted with gold paint. 
Mr. Thuan, mentioned that he was not able to 
reproduce it exactly but would try his best.
Good enough for me.

We are delighted...
it has a brilliance in colour that speaks to Vietnam.
My first thought...the colour of our home, Chateau Mango.
His and Hers.
Since Mr. H picked the colour of the house..he gets the colourful one.
We will cherish them both.

In case you are wondering...
we call it Chateau Mango because 
it reminds me of the colour of a very ripe mango. 
It was painted in July as a suprise for me. 
I have been waiting for it to fade under the Saigon sun...
No such luck. 

Best wishes for a great weekend from sunny Saigon!