Đại Hội Thánh Mẫu 2006
Last weekend my family and I spent some time in Carthage, Missouri. Longtime readers might – or might not – remember that Carthage is the location of the annual Đại Hội Thánh Mẫu celebration for Vietnamese-American Catholics. It’s two parts pilgrammage, one part concert, and one part Taste of Vietnam. I described the celebration in full detail last year, my first time back there since I was an infant. You can read that entry for all the pretty pictures and thoughtful reflection.
On most vacations I go on, we spend a lot of time on the road, so I usually find some roadside points of interest to blog about after I return home. This trip was no different:
Missouri has a state highway system almost as complex as Louisiana’s. In addition to the usual numbered state highways, the state has a slew of lettered routes. Travelling down Interstate 44, you’re likely to see the same lettered route over and over again across the state. Apparently that’s because the routes aren’t continuous: every county might have its own State Route A. Sometimes this leads to interesting combinations: one exit off of I-44 apparently leads to O Z.
At a BP station at the edge of Rolla, I spotted the sign of a Chinese restaurant. Normally I wouldn’t be so interested in establishments that purvey American Chinese food – we’ve got plenty of that here in Cincinnati. But this sign was the very definition of pulling an “American”.
Note to English speakers: that’s not how you write “Fortune Inn” – or anything, for that matter – in Chinese. Not even close. It’d probably look a bit more like 運氣客棧.
I don’t mean to be so hard on a restaurant that probably caters to white Americans, but the three other Chinese restaurants down the street seemed to get it right, so someone in the area must’ve known how to get legitimate Chinese characters on a sign.
As you’ll recall, I collect official state highway maps from welcome centers. Last summer, I was unable to get maps from the Indiana and Illinois welcome centers, because the Indiana rest areas were under construction and the Illinois ones had run out of them. This year I was able to get my hands on both maps. It’s funny that I finally have the entire Tri-State area only after about ten years of collecting. And that required me to request an Ohio map from ODOT’s website…
Maybe I should scan the covers of these maps and create a gallery online.
When we first arrived at the westbound Cumberland Road Welcome Center in Illinois, the first thing we noticed was the tall flagpole that featured a rightside-up American flag and an upside-down Illinois flag underneath. A state employee must’ve been disgruntled that day. When we passed by that stretch of highway a few days later, the flag seemed to be in correct position.
And what’s up with all the municipal water towers disguised as small houses on poles?
The road always seems to be the main part of any family vacation I go on. You tend to notice things while sitting in a car for 12 hours straight.