I heard Frederico Fellini was dead, but I don’t believe it. I watched the Miss Universe Beauty Pagent on television, live from Vietnam, and if that was not Fellini, Marcello Mastrianni never trembled as Anita Ekberg emerged from a shimmering swim in the fountain.
Miss Venezuela, 5’ 10”, took the crown as Miss Universe 2008. Four of the top five were from Latin America, including Miss Mexico, a 6’ beauty. The only non-Latino finalist was from Russia. Miss U.S.A. took a pratfall as she walked across the stage in her evening gown at the ceremonies, held in the seaside luxury resort town of Nha Trang, Vietnam. Perhaps the venue is unlucky for the U.S.A. The new Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, said once being a kidnap victim in her homeland had taught her to remain poised under pressure.
Diamond Bay Resort and Golf course hosted the event. Diamond Bay covers an area from the center of Nha Trang City 10 minutes towards South of Nguyen Tat Thanh Boulevard, just 15 minutes away from The Cam Ranh Airport by car. The Bay is surrounded by the mountains and sea, to form separate zones. The terrain is in perfect harmony with mountains, hills, brooks, rivers and plains, bringing it splendid and poetic landscapes serving as a beautiful tourist destination, especially eco tourism. Cool and temperate climate all year round makes the Bay an ideal destination, according to promotional material. Further south, bombard your senses in vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. Take a boat to the floating markets of the Mekong Delta. Discover pristine Phu Quoc, one of the best kept island secrets of Asia. I promise; I’m not making this up.
NBC broadcast the enhanced beauty pageant to hundreds of millions of viewers in 170 countries worldwide. Master of Ceremonies for the show was Jerry Springer, famous for talk shows featuring siblings and cousins from the shallow end of the gene pool, a silver-haired favorite dancer with the stars, and perfect character core for television today. Springer introduced infomercials for motor scooters as the vehicle of choice in Vietnam, where the streets are teeming with millions of them, and the luxury hotel accommodations available, each with a portrait of Ho Chi Minh in the lobby. Fifteen semifinalists in the Miss Universe competition strutted across the stage in yellow, green, and orange bikinis made in Thailand, just like the ones available at discount stores all over the U.S.A.
They performed in front of a panel of judges that included international fashion experts and Donald Trump Jr., whose father, the real estate magnate and TV star, co-owns the pageant with NBC. Springer introduced the Ho Chi Minh Chamber of Commerce and socialist paradise country club crowd and spouses with smiles and waves all around. I apologize. I’m trapped in the 1960’s. I have flashbacks. I see Madame Nu and the one-eyed bookies from “The Deer Hunter.”
Rumor has it the Donald Trump high-rise real estate, casino, and tourism empire has its eye out to cash in on Iraq’s Persian Gulf Coast Cote d’Azur and the snow capped slopes of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, I can name names who will never be tourists in Vietnam. For starters, you can find 58,195 of them on a wall in Washington, D.C., near the Lincoln Memorial.
Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter