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Vietnam

Saigon
Go-Go Saigon. Bag snatchers, street kids, traffic, and more.

Mekong Delta
Snakes, rivers, ferries, rivers, floating markets, rivers, friendly Ba Chuc, and more rivers.

Dalat
Dalat Cowboys and Love Valley provide comic relief in an alpine setting.

Nha Trang
Dirty beaches, rough waves, and Mama Hanh in the good ol' days of spliffs and surf.

 

 


Vietnam - What this is all about

I've been to Vietnam but a single time - traveling in the southern part of the country from March 25 to April 9, 1999. What follows is a lengthy travelogue of that trip which included time in Saigon, a three-day trip through the Mekong Delta on motorbike, and then a few days in Dalat and Nha Trang.

For many Americans, images of Vietnam were shaped in the 60ís and 70ís from the daily news reports from the likes of Dan Rather popping his helmeted head up from a trench to report back to Walter Cronkite about Ďthe way it isí. But if one isnít old enough to remember the war - I was all of eleven when Saigon fell, far more interested in batting averages, which girls in my class had cooties, and would the Flyers make it two in a row - than more than likely your images of Vietnam have not been created by CBS News but by Oliver Stone. Well, the war ended a generation ago and Oliver Stone filmed his movies in Thailand.

It seemed to me that Vietnam needed a fresh look. I found a country that certainly hasnít forgotten its American War, but also a country intent on moving forward. America and Vietnam are friends again, and here Americans are genuinely welcome (at least in the south). I found especially warm welcomes from former South Vietnamese soldiers, who seemed to enjoy the opportunity to express their pride for having fought alongside the Americans, even though it cost many of them their citizenship. I had never expected a response like that.

Like so much of Asia, Vietnam is changing rapidly. Itís still without a doubt a Third World country but itís working hard to develop itself, even if in spite of itself. Like China, the Hanoi government is trying to balance socialist ideals (or at least publicly claiming to) and capitalism; trying to create some economic freedom yet maintain controls on political and to a lesser extent social freedoms. 

HEY YOU! Why just read? Talk, too. Head over to the talesofasia Discussion Forum and toss in your 2000 dong.

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Readers' Submissions
Adventures in Vietnam Banking (February 2, 2011) by Antonio Graceffo NEW!
Fight in a Hanoi Park (March 12, 2010) by Antonio Graceffo
Three Short Stories of Vietnam (October 28, 2009) by Noah Klinger
When Monkeys Attack (March 22, 2009) by Dean Johnston
Finding Tranquility in Vietnam (January 28, 2009) by Haley and Mark LaMonica
In Kon Tum's Ethnic Minority Villages and Orphanages (Janaury 13, 2009) by David Calleja
Vietnam - American Observations (October 13, 2008) by "smaller"
Vietnam-Laos Border (September 28, 2008) by Tommy Hayes
Sapa to Hanoi by jeep (April 30, 2006) by Matthew Vlemmiks
Easy Riders of Dalat (April 30, 2006) by Matthew Vlemmiks
Stung Treng to 4000 Islands to Vietnam - a travel report (October 31, 2004)
Vietnamese Consulate in Sihanoukville (January 28, 2004)
My 7-Foot Snake(April 7, 2003) by Joel LaFollette

 

 

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