In the spirit of remembering Vietnam this week, I thought it a good time to remind you about my Maltese Lucy’s having traveled the country from one end to the other–how she loved Vietnam, how Vietnam loved Lucy.
In short, Lucy is a dog with wanderlust. She loves to go just about anywhere. And though she looks the part of precious pup–
–my seven pound “princess,” in fact, behaves badly anywhere other than her black, backpack carrier—
Lucy does not possess anything remotely resembling a sweet disposition. Her bark–loud, high-decibeled, and persistent–is her best weapon in an arsenal of ways to get what she wants.
But John Grogan, author of Marley & Me, insists that all dogs are great, and bad dogs–”the greatest of them all.”
And Lucy is indeed a great traveler—
Lucy is such a perfect companion on the road, that Sara and I have trotted the globe with her in tow—if for no other reason than she’s at her best, her most charming and well-behaved in planes, trains, and automobiles.
And on our world-wide odyssey to find canine obedience and tail-wagging good manners, our first stop with Lucy was Vietnam—a country Lucy traveled top to bottom, bottom to top.
Lucy behaved beautifully during our grueling 24 hour trans-global trip to Saigon. Honestly, I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.
However, day-to-day living with Lucy in Vietnam proved more challenging, since, for the first several days, I couldn’t locate a blade of grass within a 10 block radius of our apartment. There was a park a 15 minute walk away, but it was so far that even getting there involved rehydration stops along the way:
And once we finally arrived, it turned out dogs were not allowed on the lawn. I kid you not!
One morning, a security a guard reprimanded me, “Not dog on grass! Not dog on grass!” When I showed him the pink poop bag with which I intended to pick up any excrement, pink poop bag I had brought purposefully all the way from the US—biodegradable and environmentally friendly—he seemed not the least impressed and repeated his demand with all the more irritation, “Not dog on grass! Not dog on grass!” But Lucy refused to pee or poop on pavement. What was an environmentally conscious, dog-toting-to-the-Far-East American to do?
What I did was find this lonely square of grass in front of the Indonesian Consulate:
But once she adjusted to only a tiny turf, Lucy was off to places like the Reunification Palace:
She visited famous fountains:
She even participated in a student survey:
She insisted on praying at Notre-Dame Basilica:
Lucy traveled the 1,100 miles from Saigon to Hanoi by train—a nearly 30 hour trip. She loved lounging in our compartment and mooching meals from Sara:
In Hanoi she visited the Temple of Literature by back pack:
She enjoyed Sunday brunch at the world-famous Metropole Hotel:
Lucy took us shopping in the Old Quarter:
She made friends at a model build for the Jimmy Carter Work Project:
Then Lucy insisted on having a hat of her own, and she bought the smallest conical hat in all of Southeast Asia:
Lucy continued to turn heads even when we lived in Haiti, but she still insists no well-mannered Maltese would do Vietnam without a millinery consultation.
Hats off to Hanoi!
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