Change is Possible! Don’t give up hope!

Kathy and I were talking this morning about revolution in all it’s forms. We are tired and heart broken. Tired of the killing of black folks. Tired of police brutality. Tired of injustice. As I despaired over the state of the United States and what is happening there, Kathy reminded me that change does happen. As I expressed doubt that unorganized uprising can effect change she reminded me that the truth of revolution is that it is often unorganized. As I expressed anxiety that people will be hurt and die she reminded me that dying can be a revolutionary act and that dying is not the worst thing that can happen. Ultimately she reminded me of the revolutionary changes achieved as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. This post is hopefully a reminder for us all.

In March 1965 these folks braved Billy clubs, tear gas, dogs and a racist governor who empowered a racist sheriff to do anything he could think of to stop those unarmed, non-violent people from walking to the capital of Alabama for their rights. They marched for 54 miles over 5 days.

In March 2015 Kathy and I repeated that 54 mile walk. We marched with foot soldiers who had been on the original march. We marched with young people, students and families. We marched because we wanted to honor and give thanks for those original marchers and the changes they wrested from the hands of the powerful.

We marched with Ms Annie Pearl Avery. She is a life long civil rights activist. Ms Annie Pearl was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday 50 years ago. She was beaten and jailed. She didn’t let that stop her. She made the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and she was with us every step of the 2015 march!

We met Julian Bond, who is a reminder that change can come about in many ways: political, street activism, education and more.

On the way we stopped at the memorial to Viola Liuzzo who lost her life in 1965 during the original Selma to Montgomery March. Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was 39 years old.

We marched to remember, reconnect and restore. We marched because the fight for civil rights and social justice is far from over.

We made it! 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama! “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

In 2015 President Barak Obama gave a speech on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. He embraced Congressman John Lewis who was beaten on that bridge 50 years ago. Change does happen!

Don’t give up hope dear brothers and sisters. “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” -Assata Shakur

BOLT Reviews: Vinpearl Land

I’ve been on a high since Thursday! A group of sister friends and I set out for the local Hot Springs Park. Finding out, mid route, that it was closed our driver made a great suggestion: Vinpearl Land

I’d never heard of this place, located about 40 kilometers outside of Da Nang on the outskirts of Hoi An. It was AMAZING!!!

It’s like this crazy, only in Asia, combination of zoo, water park, amusement park, arcades and more! We were one of a very few visitors and had the place mostly to ourselves.


Vinpearl Land has one of the best, most humane zoos I’ve ever seen. The animals roam in beautifully designed enclosures and we saw no cages. You few the animals on a boat ride with a very knowledgeable guide.There were two stops along the way where we got to feed the giraffes and elephants.I feel like the actor on the commercials where they say “But wait, there’s more!!!”. There’s a parrot house where the birds come and perch on you as you feed them.There’s a water park with a wave pool, a lazy river and all kinds of water slides.There was a large amusement park area with lots of thrilling rides.The grounds and buildings were lovely and well maintained.Three things were a bit disappointing to our group. Unlike other attractions we have visited the arcade games were not included in the admission price. Neither was the tram ride to help you cover the vast park. Also the food was a bit disappointing. We paid a flat fee of 550k dong which included a meal. There were only two choices of meal however: vegetarian (eggs, rice and spring rolls) or a bowl of beef and noodles. Perhaps this will be different with more people attending.Despite those small inconveniences we all agreed that it was an amazing day! If you are visiting Da Nang, I highly recommend Vinpearl Land!

My Khe in the Morning

5 a.m. in Da Nang Vietnam is a magical time. I fall our of bed, do my morning devotions and then head to My Khe Beach. The beach had been closed due to Covid 19 restrictions but I could walk along the sidewalk and enjoy the views.

That all changed on April 23. Lockdown is over and the beach is open.

It was actually a bit more crowded than I was comfortable with. However I kept my mask on, stayed 2 meters away from folks and enjoyed the sights!

There were men and women exercising to upbeat music.

Lots of folks swimming, splashing and wading in the waves.

There were people exercising by themselves and in small groups.

The fisherfolk were out gathering the sea snails that I see all the time for sale in the local markets.

Lifeguards were vigilantly keeping watch.

Peaceful Falun Gong practitioners were greeting the morning.

Even though it was quite cloudy and cool it was an amazing morning.

And I was enjoying it all! Thank you for letting me share it with you.

THANK YOU VIETNAM!

Kathy and I feel very safe here in DaNang Vietnam. We have good reason for this. Vietnam has one of the lowest incidences of Covid 19 in the world. This is amazing when you consider that we share a border with China and are a mere 1200 miles away from Wuhan (where the virus first was documented).

There are many reasons for the low number of cases and the fact that there have been no deaths. This NPR article gives some details as to why this is so. The Vietnamese government was very proactive from the start. When we got off the plane in February we were carefully screened including our temperatures being taken. Masks have been worn for months, hand washing and social distancing have been stressed and for the most part respected.

I feel that in addition to a respect for governmental authority (say what you want, this is a Communist country), there is also a real level of concern for the well being of others. Masks are worn, not just to protect the wearer but for the protection of others. There has been no hoarding or panic buying of food or home goods. To alleviate food insecurity rice ATMs have been installed. While I have heard about some xenophobia, it is my understanding that it is not sanctioned by the government.

So BOLT intends to remain in DaNang until the pandemic is over, maybe even until a vaccine is created. We are practicing social distancing, eating well and enjoying our time together. We know we are extremely privileged during these times. We hold all those who are sick and are affected negatively by the pandemic in our prayers and meditations.

Finding Beauty in Fruit

Living under shelter in place rules means that the highlight of my day is a walk to the local market. I try to find and share beauty every day. I often find it in the fruits of Vietnam.

Many of these fruits were unusual to me. I’ve tried to buy and try most of them. Of course there are lots of pineapple, mango and watermelon, but I thought I’d share some of the more unusual ones here.

Jackfruit

Jackfruit has a funky smell but is really sweet and delicious. It can be used as substitute for meat in tacos and curries.

Sapodilla

This is a sapodilla or sapote. It’s really delicious, having sweet cinnamony taste.

Custard Apple

I never had a custard apple until coming to Vietnam. While it’s not very pretty it is really delicious-sweet and creamy, lots of seeds though.

Star Fruit

Star fruit are really lovely as a garnish on a fruit plate. I’ve yet to have one that is anything but bland and sour.

Rambutan
Longan

I fell in love with rambutan and longan in Thailand. They are well worth the effort it takes to get them out of their skins and into your mouth. Their taste reminds me of a green grape.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen has all sorts of health benefits and it’s really good too.

Bananas

The bananas in Southeast Asia taste different than the ones in North America. I like the small ones the best. They are sweet and firm.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit gets my vote for the prettiest fruit! It has a very bland but not unpleasant flavor.

I’d love to hear from you about which of these fruits have you tried. I’m sure I’ve left some out. Please let me know.

BOLT Reviews: Nui Than Water Park

I felt like a celebrity yesterday! You know, the one who rents out the entire amusement park in order to avoid lines, crowds, etc?

Our small group of 15 had the Nui Than Water Park almost completely to ourselves!

This place is amazing! Acres of traditional water park spaces with slides, lazy rivers and splash zones.

The hot springs are really hot! We enjoyed a wonderful, long soak in beautiful, natural surroundings.

The park is amazingly designed with a lot of attention to detail. They have a tram service to take you around to all the sites.

There are lovely plantings and lots of very cool dinosaurs, dragons and other beautiful statues and displays.

Kind of unusual at a water park was the virtual reality theater. We thoroughly enjoyed an amazing 9D roller coaster ride!

There is a restaurant and options for mud baths, beauty treatments, and massages.

Of course, for us the best part of the day was spending time with friends and family!

We hope you enjoyed these pictures (visit https://amzn.to/2wGqMHC for the camera phone we use) and this account of our day. We love questions and comments!