Monday, July 09, 2007


When we plan our vacation during for the first week of July, I did not know that we would participate in many celebrations. My husband works at a local, privately-owned manufacturer of plastic moldings. Most of the products the company produces are automotive items and office supplies. CP works in the quality control engineering department. As with most manufacturing companies, the first week of July is usually scheduled for maintenance and employees are asked (required) to take vacation during this time. Only sales department is working to take care of orders and minor shipping requests.

We arrived in Toronto in time to celebrate Canada Day on Saturday, July 1st. We learned from the banners and from local television news that it was Canada 140th Anniversary. We did not realize that Canada was such a young country. At the tickets window at CN Tower, everyone was given a small pin of Canadian flag, we gladly put the pins on our shirts to be gracious visitors and as Americans we always consider Canadians more as our cousins than just Northern neighbors.

As we walked around downtown Toronto, we exchanged pleasant greetings, "Happy Canada Day" with others. Even for me, a Vietnamese-Chinese-American, I did not feel out of place as Toronto very own Chinatown is prominent located in downtown and a large population of Asian-Canadians live in the area. I checked the phone book at the hotel and found three pages of the last name Nguyen, a couple of pages of Tran, Ly and Ngo. My uncle, TR, and his family live in Toronto but with our tight schedule and my husband not speaking a word of Vietnamese/Chinese, I did not feel it was appropriate at this time to visit Uncle.

After two days in Toronto, we drove to Williamsburg, Virigina, again in time to celebrate America's July 4th Independence Day. How appropriate to celebrate July 4th in Virginia and to celebrate Jamestown's 400th Anniversary. While Jamestown was known as the first permanent English settlement in America, 174 years later at Yorktown (15 miles away) the American Revolution under the command of George Washington set the stage for a new government and gained independence for a new nation.

While visiting Colonial Williamsburg, we were told that a movie "John Adams" was being film and will be available thru HBO channel. Previously my brother and I have planned a family vacation but again our tight schedule and a mixed-up did not permit our get together. I thought my brother VL would enjoy visiting Williamsburg for its rich history and educational activities for his son. There are many family activities such as wagon rides, costume rentals for children, interpretations of colonial life, and re-enactments throughout the day and special evening performances.

Another celebration that brought wonderful memory is the Mackinac Bridge, Michigan celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. The "Mighty Mac" connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas at the Straits of Mackinac, spans over Lake Huron and Lake Michigan and is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere. (We also walked across the Royal Gorge Bridge, another suspension bridge while visiting Colorado last July.)

According to the Official Michigan Transportation Map, it cost $99.8 million to pay for the construction and financing of the bridge. Visit for information about the bridge, the annual Bridge Walk and commemorative items and activities. The Mackinac Bridge will also be featured in the Discover Channel with an episode of "Dirty Jobs" with the host Mike Rowe showing how the workers take care of painting the bridge.

I remember fondly the early years of living in Michigan when we were young and able to endure many camping trips (tents and pop-up tiny camper, not those fancy luxury RV). We used to camp in Frankenmuth (headquarters of Bronner's - the World Largest CHIRSTmas store), Ludington, Traverse City in Michigan and Amish country in Shipshewana, Indiana. For about three years (91-93) we camped in Mackinaw City (located at the south end of the bridge) on Labor Day weekend. The morning of Labor Day, we got up at 4:00 a.m., drove from our camp site to a designated parking lot near the bridge. Together with approximately 50,000 or more people, with Governor John Engler leading the way, we walked across the 5-mile long bridge spanning over 552 feet above the water. The walk itself took only an hour and 1/2. (If you decide to participate in the walk, be sure to take care of business before the walk because there is no accomodation on the bridge.) When we got to the other side of the bridge, there would be a bus to take us back to our cars while others who were young and strong, walked back across the bridge instead of taking the bus.

Recently my brother mentioned in his blog that for some reasons his son also enjoys camping. It runs in the family, just like eldest Auntie!

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