November 11-29, 2005

I was in Asia, and Vietnam, for the first time in 1999 and found it to be fascinating and unlike anything I had ever experienced. I've had it in my head to come back for a while, and actually had tickets booked for November 2003 but canceled it due to SARS. So this trip has been a long time in the making and I had a really great time. Saw lots, met great folks, and did it at a good pace.

I also have to mention how the Vietnamese people seem to be among the hardest working in the world. They were people working at times of day, doing heavy labor, for a pitance, and smiling and only looking to make their own way, not take away from yours. I read somewhere that in the 90's they were the second fastest growing economy in the world- doesn't surprise me.




HANOI day 2







I remember growing up and watching action movies on the war, not knowing too much about the other side, hearing about draft dodgers and rich kids, how Jane Fonda seemed like a traitor, and wondering if we had left behind POWs. Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it- it is fascinating to dig into what happened here, a generation before me but within my lifetime. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and I am a former member of our military and somehow missed getting deployed to Bosnia and Afganistan (two places I feel we made a positive difference, would have proudly gone)- but it does appear that what we did in Vietnam may have been a mistake.
Dig down and judge for yourself. Can you name which country did the following? Fought for independence from colonial rule. Fought a civil war to reunify after the country was divided between the north and the south. Stated in its declaration of independence "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
If you said the U.S. you are be right. If you said Vietnam you would be too.

Movies would include Lost in Translation, the Oliver Stone trilogy of Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Heaven & Earth, as well as Apocalypse Now, Hamburger Hill, We Were Soldiers, The Killing Fields, and Tomb Raider. Also some Forrest Gump.

Fortunate Son

Flight of the Valkyrie

Wikipedia Vietnam Info
Vets With A Mission- interesting group, didn't know they existed
Great page of links on Vietnam