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Bristol Area Lions travel via PowerPoint to Vietnam 04/12/2010

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Lion John Janell presenting a certificate of appreciation to Heather and Doug Houston for sharing their recent vacation photos, observations and experiences in Vietnam

On April 5, the Bristol Area Lions welcomed their speakers for the evening Heather and Doug Houston. Heather is well known to most of the members as she is employed in Bristol Town Hall and several years ago assisted the Lions in their Annual Elmer Tarr Roadside Clean-Up Day which this year is scheduled for May 1.

Doug is a lawyer at 1 Main St., Damariscotta with Howard & Bowie, Attorneys.

The Houstons moved here from New York City in 2002. They lived near the World Trade Center and could smell the smoke from the 9/11 attack. They currently live on Sproul Hill Road in Bristol in the house that Doug’s parents had purchased as their own retirement home after vacationing in this area for a number of years.

The Houstons often travel to countries on their own without a firm schedule and utilize the hotel concierge and local travel agents. They attempt to talk with the local inhabitants and use bikes, trains and buses to travel within the country. They were frustrated on the local tours that they booked in Vietnam as they were always put with other tourists.

Doug had prepared some background information on the country. Vietnam broke away from China in 900 AD; and was ruled by French colonists for 100 years, beginning in 1858. Many if their influences can be seen in the architecture, food and language.

Today Vietnam has a population of 86 million and its largest cities are Hanoi in the north the capitol with a six and half million. Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, in the south with seven million. It is a communist country. They have a 90 percent literacy rate and 72 year life expectancy. China is their largest trading partner and the United States their second.

Heather exclaimed over the reasonable prices as they showed photo of the hotel rooms that cost them only $30 a night and $12 sumptuous dinners. They both enjoy Vietnamese food.

When in an area noted for its fabrics she was measured and picked up the tailored red jacket that she wore for the presentation. They enjoyed their $5 a day scooter rentals, sampan river rides, as well as kayaking and swimming in the South China Sea. .

At the business meeting Treasurer, Paul Anderson reported that we joined other Maine Lions Clubs by sending a donation from the Eye Account to Camp Sunshine in Casco. This is the only camp in the country offering a retinoblastoma eye disease program. Donations were also sent to Habitat for Humanity in support of the Bristol build and to Beverly Foster in Round Pond to fund two boxes of moisturizer and lip balm going to the troops in Afghanistan when a soldier from Bristol will be deployed.

The next dinner meeting of the Bristol Area Lions will be on Mon. April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Willing Workers Hall in New Harbor. The speaker will be historical novelist Van Reid from Edgecomb. He is best known for his tales of the Marvelous Moosepath League all of which take place in late 19th century Maine.

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