Nah Trang, Vietnam

The working title for this post was The Sea is Beautiful, and other new thoughts. Fair warning: I basically just word vomited onto this page and attached images of the sea.

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Pretty much everywhere painting done since we figure out how to do that cool light trick. 

It’s spring break time! Which means instead of donning my bikini and heading to the beaches of Mexico, I donned my sensible one piece (with coverup and swim shorts) and headed to the beaches of Vietnam.

For my dad’s 60th birthday, he wanted the whole family back together and exploring someplace new. Having lived in Hong Kong for a while now (and taking advantage of it’s nearness to other countries), it’s always exiting to visit someplace i’ve never seen before – especially somewhere as beautiful as Nha Trang. Forgive the cliche sunset and ocean photos, but it’s literally the only thing I wanted to take pictures of, it was so beautiful.

It is funny writing this, because I am overwhelmingly aware of the Grand Historical Tradition (Tm) of writing about the sea. It seems impossible that I should add anything new or overwhelmingly salient, but, like any other aspiring writer, here I am to throw my two cents into the overcrowded hat ring.

I may have my metaphors mixed up, but I’m sure you understand.

(What is a hat ring, anyway?)

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I watched this dude straight up murder a spider, to constantly remind you that nature will always be waiting.

There are always two things I think about whenever I am lucky enough to be near the ocean. the first is the Grand Literary Tradition, and how much I feel like a heroine whenever it is overcast and I struggle bravely across the sand. The second is how surprising I always find the ocean. Even just looking away for ten second, it always manages to take your breath away. I think you could live every day for the rest of your life by the sea, and constantly be shocked by how beautiful it was.

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View of the National Park ain’t bad either

Most of my thoughts over the break were spent freaking out over internships, enjoying a variety of fruity cocktails and pondering the immense weight of time and history, so here’s a brief aside about the weirdest spa experience I have every had. Due to my sunburn and dry skin (only one arm! and everywhere, respectively), I asked for a hydration treatment, where I assumed they’d just give me some lotion and a head massage and send me on my way.

Ohoho, boy was I wrong. Two hours later I emerged into the sunlight, thoroughly moistured. Thoroughly. I lay there for 90 minutes while a very strong and tiny vietnamese lady poured pure coconut oil into my hair (a traditional treatment, I have regrets on that front, my hair was Snape-like for days) while I lay there covered in mud. At one point she spent ten minutes jiggling the fat on my cheeks. Maybe for fun? By that point I was so confused by everything else that had happened it seemed totally normal. It was the strangest thing I’ve every experienced but so help me I emerged a beautiful greasy baby with fresh new skin.

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I’ve heard if you drink eight of these, you’ll see God behind the Walmart parking lot.

In conclusion, this post is dedicated to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever drank, which is vietnamese coffee. You watch it drip into a glass and then pour condensed milk into it and it’s like a gut punch of caffeine. Anyways, I’m in love and if I ever figure out how to recreate it in America that’ll be the end of my everything, I’m fairly confident.

Happy Birthday Dad! XOXO

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The Sapphires

20131122162310the_sapphires_posterDirector:Wayne Blair

Actors: Chris O’Dowd

Deborah Mailman

Jessica Mauboy

Shari Sebbens

Miranda Tapsell

Tory Kittles

Eka Darville

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Synopsis: In 1968, four smart, gutsy young Australian Aboriginal women become unlikely stars by singing for the U.S Troops in Vietnam. With the help of an R&B loving Irish musician, Dave Lovelace, they transform themselves into a sizzling soul act and set out to make a name for themselves hundreds of miles from home. Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires is a celebration of music, family and self-discovery.

Review:

You can’t just ask someone why they’re not black. But you can, however, ask them to sound more black. Which is one of the first problems facing The Sapphires, a 60’s aboriginal girl group born down under.

The Sapphires is the true story of a remarkable group of women who managed to put together a girl group and travel to Vietnam. Co-written by one of the sons of the real-life singers and directed by Wayne Blair, this movie packs a punch and a amazingly good soundtrack.

The movie opens up with two stark facts. 1. Until 1967 Aborigines in Australia were not considered humans by the government and 2. The government had the authority to remove the light-skinned native children from their families to make them a part of white community.

We meet the future Sapphires as children, about to put on a show for their families. Halfway through, however, the light-skinned cousin is taken away to become a part of the stolen generation. It’s a powerful, painful beginning.

A decade later, the three sisters – Gail (Deborah Mailman) Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) decide to enter a singing competition. Braving the racism of the croud, they sing an American country western song. The accompanist (Chris O’Dowd) is a washed-up mess who nevertheless recognizes their potential and helps them form The Sapphires. They reconnect with their stolen cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens), switch from country to Motown and pass the audition to go perform for the US troops in Vietnam.

Once there however, it’s not an easy road for any of them. A girl group with four members means a lot of opportunity for romance, drama and power struggles. Luckily, the Sapphires manages to avoid falling into a Behind the Music hole by matching fabulous 60’s soul songs to the real life drama happening off stage and on. It’s a hard journey for them, dealing with the valor of the GI’s, the still present racism, and the death and horrors happening around them.

The Sapphires is a movie with a lot of heart (I was going to say soul, but Ugh). Form the get go it’s packed with tension and hurt and love. The actors do an incredible job of balancing the frustrations felt along with the joys. Its not an easy movie to watch at times (especially as Gail and Kay deal with the fall-out of the stolen generation) and Mailman does such an incredible job with her protective ferocity.  In addition, the soundtrack manages to add even more oomph to an already great movie. Seriously – these ladies can sing. Anyone who enjoys Motown – I Heard it through the Grapevine, Super Pie Honey Bunch, and other hit classics are performed- will love this movie.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was equal parts sad and funny, uplifting and depressing. It’s a new look at race issues that still impact the world today, and manages to neither harp on nor ignore the seriousness of the issues that the girls face. However, the Sapphires is more than that. It’s a celebration – of family, of good music and life. It’s an amazing movie based on amazing people. Fitting, no?

XX

P.S. While the issues of the stolen generation is an important part of this movie, an excellent film that really delves into those issues is Rabbit Proof Fence. I would highly recommend that movie as well.