Some Thoughts on Vietnam

Authored By Jennifer

Sitting in the Danang Airport I saw a tourist sign that said, “Vietnam- The Hidden Charm.” I thought to myself, “It’s so hidden I have yet to find it.” As Brian has already mentioned, I thoroughly disliked Vietnam. After our experience in Halong Bay, and all the trash and pollution everywhere, and especially getting ripped off by the train guy, I was not a happy camper. Nothing was as I expected. And I was actually really excited about going to Vietnam, but the reality was not the same as my dreams. I think I’m very tolerant, but not as tolerant as Brian. And I was just barely tolerating Vietnam.

After about a week of traveling through the country, and each day hoping it would be better than the day before, we finally reached Saigon and things got a little better. Our tour guide for the Cu Chi Tunnels was an interpreter for the Americans during the war. He had some interesting stories, but there was something about his demeanor, his smile, and the peace he had that struck me. Plus he made some remarks about how we’re all the same, no matter where we’re from, that just made me think. I’ve heard this 100 times, but this time I felt it. Our two day cruise on the Mekong River up to Cambodia also really changed my views on Vietnam. This was the Vietnam that I was expecting. Beautiful countryside, very simple lifestyle, and happy, friendly people. It was so refreshing to have kids saying hello as we rode our bikes through the little villages. And when we were on the boat, kids would rush to the edge of the river and scream hello and wave their hands. It was so wonderful! That’s what I call charm.

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