Go-Go Saigon. Bag snatchers, street kids, traffic, and
Snakes, rivers, ferries, rivers, floating markets, rivers, friendly Ba
Chuc, and more rivers.
Dalat Cowboys and Love Valley provide comic relief in an alpine setting.
Dirty beaches, rough waves, and Mama Hanh in the good ol' days of spliffs
Vietnam - What this is
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.
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.
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.
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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