Next on our agenda was to visit Anh's daughter and niece in Phoenix. Our flight from Wichita to Phoenix was canceled and we were re-routed on a later flight with a layover in Chicago. Don't ask why we had to go to Chicago to get to Phoenix. It's another example of logic in flying. But it did give Anh one more state to add to her list of places visited. Arizona was even hotter than Kansas (115) but it wasn't humid so it was almost bearable.
Just seeing Anh and her daughter Na get together for the first time in nearly three years was enough to make the trip a success. It was well after midnight before our plane landed and we were all exhausted but we stayed up and chatted until the wee hours.
Though our stay in Phoenix was short, we did have a great time there. It was especially fun to get to know Anh's neice's daughter, Ashlinn, who liked to dance for us and try to teach me Vietnamese.
After two nights in Phoenix, we hit the road and drove out to El Monte, California to visit Anh's sister and her family. El Monte has a large Vietnamese population and is called "Little Saigon". It was almost like driving in downtown Saigon with all the Vietnamese shops and restaurants on the streets. I was amazed by how patriotic the Vietnamese living there are. Everywhere you looked, there were American flags flying, even inside homes and on automobiles. There is a memorial in El Monte that the Viet community erected to honor both the American and South Vietnamese soldiers.
We took advantage of our time in Southern California to do a bit of touristy stuff. Anh's daughter and boyfriend drove us to Hollywood so we could walk on the stars of Hollywood Blvd. and then go to Santa Monica to visit the pier.