Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vietnam

I don't think I had to pay more than $4 to have this man pedal me around for an afternoon!
For a video of what a rickshaw tour is like, click here.
 

I was up on the third floor of Hotel 265.


What crossed my mind was that I was hoping this guy wasn't seeking vengeance for the war! Yes, that's a straight razor. Perhaps the closest shave I've ever had!  To learn about getting a haircut in Vietnam, click here.

A pineapple juice followed up by coffee!

A sunny day on the Mekong Delta! 
Nice pants!


With travelers from England (on the left) and Scandinavia


on a tour of the Mekong Delta.  These women are handling pineapples.



 
 
Crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels


 
 
 
 

 
My final destination (well, pretty much) was Vietnam. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) with an open mind. I quickly made my way to the area where I could find a hostel. I slept on a top bunk in a room with several travelers, mostly Europeans, Australians and Japanese. A guy I befriended was from Devon, England. We ended up hanging out and going on some tours. One of the most interesting parts of my trip was a visit to the American War Museum - yes, that's what it's called over there. Keep in mind, for Americans of my generation, the Vietnam War is quite a puzzle and isn’t anything that’s truly discussed except through action movies. If only a tenth of the exhibits in the war museum were truthful, and if you have a conscience, the whole Vietnam War saga starts playing with your psyche. It makes you ask more questions and want to research more. This “pull” remains with me to this day. Another fascinating part of the trip was going on a tour down the Mekong River and Delta. At some point we ended up crawling through some leftover Viet Cong tunnels (Củ Chi) that were dug during the war. These intricate tunnels are several stories underground. They served as bomb shelters, hospitals, homes and attack points for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Nowadays you can crawl through them on tours. Afterwards, if you so desire, you can even shoot an AK-47 at targets. People naturally asked, “How do the Vietnamese treat Americans who travel there?” My answer would be that the people I met were very kind and gracious. I met scores of tourists from the US and other places. I even saw American veterans who had returned to Vietnam to make peace with everything. Overall, my trip to Vietnam was relaxing and informative.

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