What a rich set of experiences in four weeks! Marjie suggested that we comment on the things about Vietnam we wish we could “keep” and the things we’re happy to “leave.” So here goes:
- The boys on a motorbike who snatched Carol’s purse.
- Crowded streets and impossible traffic. The norm seems to be very aggressive driving on either side of the road performed with acute awareness of where your vehicle stops and another begins (measured in inches) with the horn constantly providing warnings.
- Electrical wiring, both inside and out. Power lines so thick you can barely read the names on buildings. Casual 220 volt inside wiring such as twisted and taped connections for the wall mounted water heater within easy reach inside the shower. A public toilet with a towel rack and wet towel and bare wires inches above where a hand dryer used to be.
- Persistent smog in the cities we visited. There must be some long-term health effects for residents.
- Friendly, happy people. Thanks to Sharon for taking us to see Marjie when we arrived; Marjie was in the hospital recovering from Dengue fever. Many thanks to Katherine and Franco for their hospitality and use of their rooms in the Castle. Thuy and Thanh took such good care of us – home-made chicken noodle soup when we arrived “to keep us well” and fresh lemonade at their fabric stand. It’s tempting to ask them to become our neighbors, but we could never replace what they already have in their neighborhood.
- Great food, over and over. That includes the vendors in the neighborhood and the wonderful hotel breakfasts while we traveled. The numerous seafood feasts also need to be mentioned.
- Beautiful scenery, with Halong Bay at the top of my list. The cruise on a junk was a perfect way to see the islands.
- Spending four weeks with Devon, Megan and Nolan. What a rare opportunity to have extended time during this busy and quickly changing portion of their lives!
I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to experience the people and culture of Viet Nam rather than a tour with western hotels and food and only a glimpse of the people from a big bus. Thanks for the memories, Marjie.