Vietnamese Experience Tour photo

Our Vietnam Experience, Entry #1


Director of Orchestras Wes Kenney and Violin Professor Leslie Stewart are spending ten days over break in Vietnam with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra and at the National Music Academy. These entries document their unique and exciting experience!

December 25 to 27, 2017

There is something to be said about international travel in regards to patience. The cliche “hurry up and wait” absolutely applies here. At the LAX international terminal we waited an hour to check in at the desk, then another hour to get through security (it WAS Christmas and they had only one TSA agent looking at documents…at least he was in a good mood.)

After a 13 hour flight to Seoul and then a five hour flight to Hanoi, we then waited a couple of hours to get our Visas in working order collected our luggage and were met by Lan and Thang, the couple that had come to Fort Collins with their violinist daughter Nhi a couple of years back. Lan is the concertmaster of the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, and her husband Thang is a violin teacher and a professor at the Vietnam National Music Academy.

busy Vietnamese streetThe day was rather dreary and rainy, but we caught glimpses of modern bridges and skyscrapers on the way into town for lunch. This was overlooking a lake that is as large as Horsetooth Reservoir. We then were shown to our hotel where we collapsed for a few hours before going to dinner with Thang, Lan, Nhi, and their son Long.

On the way, we discovered how challenging Hanoi traffic can be. Motorbikes swarm the lanes with cars and the only way to make progress is to push forward. The savvy Hanoi driver knows when to wait and when to go. At times progress is limited to a few feet at a time and others there is clear lanes around you. Beware the motorbike rider who decides that traveling in the opposite side of the road against traffic is the best route! Some close calls can result.

Leslie went off to get a massage and I just went back to the room for a blessed evening of sleep. Tomorrow would be a full day!

~ Submitted by Wes Kenney, director of orchestras at CSU