Vietnam, 2nd time around

Culture is king

Culture is king

It’s my 2nd time here in 10 years, and I’m excited about what has changed, and what I will be seeing for the first time. On my journey, we passed through Korea en route to Hanoi, and I learned from the people sitting next to me, about the country, how it’s split, and their opinions, and way of life. Before even landing in Hanoi, I got an understanding about Korea, and I’d like to return some day soon to experience their culture for myself.

This is the first time in 78 countries, and on any of my adventures that I had forgotten to pack my atm and credit card in my wallet. So, here I am in a communist country with only cash and no security for any possible emergencies. Prior to leaving LAX, I did my best to solve this issue, but the bottom line is, I’m relying on my personality and Bank of America to get me through the next 5 days. After 17 hours of flying, I’m greeted by Yang who lives in Hanoi, and who’s been in tourism for 30 years. Yang explains that he knows all of these hotels very well, and that things are inexpensive here so it should be no problem.  BIG sigh of relief, and I’m hoping that B of A comes through with sending that card in about 4 days, to my hotel in Hue.  If not, I feel I’ve got a friend in Yang, and we connected immediately. The issue with needing help in a foreign country is humility, empowering the locals and smiles. SMILES ARE UNIVERSAL. No matter where you are, and if you’re scared, or if you feel a distance from those that approach you, or just walking about, when you smile, you break that barrier, and become open for a positive experience, even if only for a flash of time. Korea, Africa, Vietnam, or Shanghai, with a smile, you immediately are saying ‘thank you, I am a guest in your country, and I am respectful of the experience’. You may need help, so remember that!
Time for some morning girl talk

Time for some morning girl talk

The ride to the hotel at night was peaceful and the streets are all very clean. Even at 11:30 at night, there are teenagers all around various corners of buildings sitting on small stools, eating ‘street food’ and laughing together, sharing the light from one corner street light, and one other flood light that is shining above the woman cooking pho, or sweet noodle soup, or whatever delicious mixture she’s created. It’s safe here, and streets are quiet lined with scooters parked on the sidewalk in good order, showing that  they care about cleanliness, they have a pride for their city, and they work together.
Hanoi used to be the capital of North Vietnam before the country became united, all in one.  Ho Chi Minh City was the capital of the South, but now is just a large city in the south. I find it impressive and humbling that the Vietnamese don’t hold anything against the Americans, and they’ve moved on since the war, over 30 yrs ago. Yang’s father was in the war, and worked as a reporter, and is still a writer. It brings it home when you consider that someone who wrote about the Vietnam war had a son who now leads Americans around their country. I’m sure it’s surreal for that family to reflect on their past and how far they, and their country has come. I also find it interesting that other countries seem to think that Vietnam needs help, and they’ve been led by the French, the Portugese, and the Americans, but these lovely people are doing just fine running their own country, and they’re kind proud people.  You still see remnants of French influence, and Yang explains the various buildings to me that were from that era.  I’m looking forward to learning more over the next 10 days~

 
 

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