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Old Jul 09, 2004, 10:43 PM
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Some photos' of Vietnam

I thought I would post some photos' I took on my trip to Vietnam a few weeks ago, this was the second time I have been and I can not recommend it highly enough as a great spot to visit.

On both visits I have stayed with a Vietnamese family and it was great to be immersed in a vastly different society than the one I live in here in Canada.

Language was a bit of a barrier sometimes but Ba (Father) of the family speaks French so he translated from French to Vietnamese for me and most of the other family members have some English so we all managed to understand each other.

The first photo is of some members of the Bui family, the second photo is of Da Lat which is a relaxation area and a is the home of many Tea plantations.
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 10:47 PM
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I took a side trip up into the Central Highlands and after many hours of travel by bus, horse and on foot I arrived at this little bit of Paradise, it is a on the grounds of a Tea Plantation and it was worth every second of the travel time to get to.
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Last edited by Tony D.; Jul 09, 2004 at 10:50 PM.
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 10:59 PM
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The photo of this woman sums up all that is Vietnam IMO.

She took myself and a companion up the Me Kong river in her 7 metre boat. We travelled for many hours to a Fruit Plantation on the banks of the river where we slept in hamocks under the coconut trees.

It was mind blowing to say the least.

This lady almost never stopped smiling the whole time and I caught her in this photo just as she turned from checking the motor on her boat. She has very little in the way of material possesions but has a spirit and generosity that puts many people I know here in North America to shame.

The best memory I came away from Vietnam with is how much the people there have risen above their circumstances, how generous and gentle they are.
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 11:49 PM
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I enjoyed looking at your photos and seeing another part of the world again. Thanks
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 12:28 PM
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Some beautiful scenery there, Tony.

A question: Is this family representative of most families there nowadays? I noticed a TV, a computer, bottled water, and other things that one might consider to be more "upscale" for what we think of when we consider what the average Vietnamese family might have.

Is our collective image of the Vietnamese as dirt-poor rice farmers living in thatch huts outdated?

If so, it's good to know. Everyone deserves to live up a couple notches from scraping dirt-poor. I just wish I were.

Also, what accommodations do people visiting in countries where it's customary to eat sitting on the floor have, who cannot do so for health reasons (e.g. bad knees)? Just curious.

Rick
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Rick, the living standard in Vietnam has risen substantially over the past few years because the Government (Communists) finally started to encourage entrepenureship and opened the Country to foreign investment.

My host family have a small business and are doing well in comparison to some people in Vietnam. But there is a Middle Class emerging and I met lots of people who are enjoying the same fruits of their hard work.

But, there is grinding poverty in some areas and the Country is still recovering from the War so they have a way to go but I think Vietnam will be the next "Tiger" economy in Asia.

The bottled water in the photo was for me, for a North American to drink tap water in VN is very dangerous in terms of infectious desease and water borne parasites.

You can not see it in the photo but there is a sofa, table and chairs in the room we were eating in, the meal we took on the floor was in celebration of Ba's birthday so it was more traditional but mostly people eat and live much like we do here in NA.

One area in which the Vietnamese are far ahead of us is in the way they treat the elderly, old people are respected and venerated. When someone has a problem or needs advice they do not ask Dr. Laura they go to an elder who has the life experience and wisdom that youth mostly lacks.

It seem here in NA our seniors are disposable, old people are seen as a problem to be dealt with and then forgotten. The adult children in my host family would never make a major decision without consulting their Father and I was amazed many times by how co-hesive the Family unit is in Vietnam.

And Ba's mother is 101 and he still calls her for wise counsel!

Very humbling actually.



T.D.
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 02:01 PM
LcJ
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Wow! Vietnam, a postor child for free enterprise. So remind me, what were they fighting against? Was it just that they wanted to be at the top instead of the others? But I am glad they, as the Soviet Union have realized what we (Americans) have known all along. You have to own the tools or production to make things work over the long haul. I applaud them.

As for respecting and caring four our elders. I agree with them on that also. We have an apartment built on to our house. My Mother lived with us for almost 10 years and died while living with us. My Father-in-law developed cancer and he and my Mother-in-law lived with us for about two years until he died. About six months later she had to have heart surgery (at age 86) and so she came back to live with us. She is now 90 and will probably also die at our house. We could have depended on the Government and let them all go to nursing home's, but that is neither the Christian nor the conservative way to do things. We share our lives and all that we have.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

LcJ
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Last edited by LcJ; Jul 10, 2004 at 02:07 PM.
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 07:10 PM
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"So remind me, what were they fighting against? "

LcJ, I am surprised that after all these years and all that we have learned about the war you could ask this question because it is obvious to me that the Vietnamese were fighting for the right to self determination and freedom from an imposed foreign terrony.

If that sounds familiar it should because that is what the original Colonists were fighting for in your country as far as I know.

I had a very eye opening conversation with a teacher while I was in VN, his perspective and that of many other people I met there is that their struggle was almost exactly analagous with that of the United States against England.

They were fighting for their freedom.

Another thing I learned is that many of the Soldiers who fought on the side of the Communists were not themselves Communists but were from their perspective Patriots fighting an invading foreign army. The only recourse left to them as Patriots was to join in the fight with whoever was in a position to offer resistance.

Is eveyone there happy to live under Communism? Of course not. But at this point the general population is better off in terms of Education, Health Care and general well being than probably any time in their History.

The Communist Government will not last forever, it will eventually fall which I also think will happen in China.

The bottom line is that the majority of the people in Vietnam were on the side of the North and when you loose the battle of hearts and minds you will loose the war.


Tony D.
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 10:45 PM
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My mother refuses to go back. She's hates the communists with a passion. My father on the other hand wouldn't mind going back ... lots of ghosts to visit.

Logan5
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 10:51 PM
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VietNam is a place a lot of people still have nightmares about. The country and people seem to have fared better after the War. This is good.

I think Iraq will be much the same. Nightmares for those that fought, but a much better place for those that live there. This, too, will be good.

Sometimes just shining the light on an oppressive regime will galvanize a response. War is the most horrific thing Man can do, but sometimes, like a forest fire, the after event is better than could be hoped for. New life out of destruction.

JMHO, and I mean humble.
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