Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Big Fat Trip To Vietnam - Part 1

Twenty hours later, almost there...

If you’re in a hurry, I have one..[counting on fingers]..two…three words for you: It was fantastic! There, now you can go read someone else’s blog.

Otherwise, come sit on my lap and I will tell you about our family’s excellent adventure in Vietnam. But first, a big THANK YOU to my adviser-consultant-savior-and-friend, Vietnamese God [http://tinyurl.com/38hp6n], for organizing the itinerary and the sightseeing programme.

I will not bore you with a detailed account of our trip. I'd just like to submit a few comments and observations to my two or three readers, and hopefully get their feedback.

First observation : I’m too old to undertake such a long journey. I don't know about you, but spending sixteen frigging hours strapped on a narrow chair, hurling through space at the speed of sound, surrounded by screaming babies and eating two suppers in a row at odd hours, is not my idea of fun. So even though I loved my stay in Vietnam, I have no intention of going back for at least another two or three years.

Our first city in Vietnam was Hanoi. There I met God (the Vietnamese one) and KCA, another blogger friend [http://khongcoai.com/]. The highlights in Hanoi were the trade shops in the Old City, the early morning walks around Hoang Kiêm Lake, the Temple of Literature, the myriads of Tintin T-shirts, the water puppets (did you know that their clothes are painted on their body?) [http://tinyurl.com/2e3852]...

Water puppets are actually quite cute and the show's very entertaining.

... and the food, aaah, the food.

Snail vermicelli soup ( bun oc) at Bun Ta, overlooking the Big Turtle Lake

But of course, a bigger highlight was the realization of my son's Quest: meeting Vietnam's best breakdancing team, the Big Toe Crew, and training with them.

As soon as we arrived at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, where we were greeted by God carrying a big bouquet (What a kind, sweet teddy bear of a man!), our first call was for Big Toe leader Thành. When we reached our hotel, we were joined by Thành and some other members of his crew, and we all went for pho and beer on the street. My son Forty and his partner K8 were invited to judge a friendly battle between Big Toe and a rival crew, Halley. The battle was to take place the next evening, at the Soviet-Vietnamese Cultural Centre. You can watch the battle on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP3HUZf7kIc) and see pictures of the event on KCA's blog.

Of course, being b-boys and b-girl, everybody showed attitude.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Good Morning Montreal!

I'm back! No more vacation... And no luggage either cause the airline lost my suitcase...

Plein de photos et de commentaires à vous présenter.... But later, much later -- The house is a mess and half of my plants are dead. There's some coffee left, thank god, but not a single croissant in the house -- how am I supposed to survive?

The dog is so happy to see me, she's following me everywhere and won't even go out to pee, unless I go with her, just in case I pull another disappearing act on her.

Merci à tous ceux qui m'ont attendue avec patience...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Three Weeks in Vietnam

I'll be in Vietnam from May 9th to May 24th. Supposedly on vacation....
See y'all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cunning linguists

L’édition du 30 avril du quotidien Le Monde relate, sur un ton plutôt amusé, la farce perpétrée par un traducteur de France2 lors d’une émission télévisée diffusée aux Français de New York. Traduisant l’appel lancé par Nicolas Sarkozy, les sous-titres en anglais du discours disent : « I invite the French people to rally my inflated ego so that we can build that dream », autrement dit : « J’invite les Français à rallier mon ego surdimensionné ... etc. » . Le traducteur (américain) a été licencié.

June 17, 2005 - Visit to Canada of His Excellency Phan Van Khai, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Photo: Protocol Canada)

À propos d’égo surdimensionné, j’ai été engagée, il y a quelques années, comme interprète par le Gouvernement canadien à l’occasion de la visite officielle d’une délégation vietnamienne de très haut niveau. Les premiers jours précédant la visite, j’avais accompagné les fonctionnaires canadiens dans leurs activités de préparation et apparemment, le responsable de la logistique de la visite a été tellement impressionné par ma prestation qu’il a demandé que je sois nommée chef de l’équipe d’interprétation (nous étions trois en tout). C’est alors que le Dieu de l’égo surdimensionné a frappé. Cinq minutes avant l’arrivée de la délégation, on était encore en train de réécrire le discours du chef d’État. J’ai supplié - en vain - qu’on m’en donne une copie. L’accueil de la délégation vietnamienne se faisait dans un hangar de l’aéroport militaire d’Ottawa, dont personne n’a pensé à vérifier la sonorisation. Le premier ministre canadien a prononcé son discours de bienvenue dans cette salle caverneuse et tout ce que j’entendais c’était wah wah wah [écho] Canada wah wah wah [écho] Vietnam wah wah wah [écho]…. J’ai inventé de toute pièce un discours de circonstance. Ce fut ensuite le tour du premier ministre vietnamien, dont le discours a été traduit impeccablement par l’interprète vietnamien qui lisait tranquillement le texte traduit. Immédiatement après la fin de la cérémonie, le chef de la logistique est venu me dire que j’étais congédiée.