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Blending in in Vietnam

One faithful reader complains of difficulty in picking out my friend Zabine from the group photos posted here. The reason is that Zabine and I, as seasoned world travelers, have learned to blend into a crowd of Vietnamese.

Here’s a picture of the two of us blending in. Zabine, you’ll notice, does it better than I do. It takes special skill to fly under the radar when you tower over the folks with whom you’re blending. Still, don’t you agree I could do worse?

Be that as it may, Zabine blends very well, height-wise. So long as she’s surrounded [...]

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Hanoi: Baha’i 20th Anniversary

For Zabine Maryam (Linkins) Van Ness, this has been a journey of 20 years. For me, it only felt like one.

We arrived Sunday morning at the hotel in Hanoi where the Baha’i community was gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its founding. Stunning floral arrangements were everywhere. Many of these, I hear, were sent by the government, which recognized the Baha’i Faith here four years ago and with which the friends now have very good relations. Wishing to offer support, government officials were taken aback to discover that the Baha’is could not accept funding from outside sources. They [...]

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Vietnam: Hanoi Beginnings

April 29, 2012 (Sunday) – As I have explained, the stated reason Zabine Van Ness and I are in Vietnam is that the Hanoi Baha’i community, on the 20th anniversary of its founding, wanted to honor Zabine for her role in that seminal event.

That “stated” reason is of course their reason – and a good reason it is indeed. But it isn’t Zabine’s reason for accepting the invitation. She came here with the hope that she could assist and empower the Vietnamese friends today, perhaps even more than she did in the past. “The celebration is about the last [...]

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Second Day Vietnam Photos

Some representative photos from our second day in Vietnam.

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Hanoi from the Handlebars

April 27, 2012 (Friday) – Our busy day started with an unexpected treat – motorcycle rides for Zabine and me. We knew that Baha’i friends were coming by to pick us up, and I suppose we expected a van or car or something. But the most normal mode of transport in Hanoi seems to be the motorcycle, so it was our time to be initiated.

Major streets in Hanoi are narrower than those in Ho Chi Minh City. There are good lane markings when there’s no construction going on – but there is a lot of construction.

Nevertheless, motorcycle [...]

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New high-def “Heart to Heart” website

Whew! It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a month since I posted my March 8 article on Heart to Heart. Sorry to be quiet for so long, but so much has happened:

I’ve ported my new presentation of the Heart to Heart program to its own, standalone web site: Heart to Heart HD. Even though this new site remains a work-in-progress, early feedback suggests that people are finding it highly attractive, engaging, and useful. You can visit it by clicking here, or on the slideshow graphic to the right.

The actual web address is: hearttoheart.bahaiteaching.net

This site went [...]

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Introducing Heart to Heart HD

The Astonished Tamale! is pleased to introduce a new service for its readers. We’re calling it Heart to Heart HD. You can test-drive it here. (Or simply click the “Heart to Heart HD” item on the black menu bar above.)

A bit of history:

Heart to Heart (without the HD) is an omnibus slideshow addressing more than 700 important and frequently asked questions about the Baha’i Faith. These are grouped into 18 major topics (or “tracks”), each constituting

[...]

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