Thoughts on Vietnam

In College, there were several classes about the Vietnam War. Each semester, I tried to get into those classes, but they were always full. I would randomly walk by the classes and listen to the music they would play from that era and peek into the classes and try to watch the videos they were showing. The war had always seemed so despairing and heartbreaking to me. I used to teach English as a second language and my favorite clients were a Vietnamese family. I stayed close with this family for about a year until I moved. I accompanied the family to physicians, shopping, dinner, and the Vietnamese New year celebration in Myrtle Beach; a great time with kind, humble and friendly people. The food was fantastic too! Anyway, when Blake suggested we backpack to Vietnam, I was SO excited. The scenery was culturally amazing and made a lifelong impression. The land and the people are forever in my heart.

Rice farm – We took a four day tour, arranged by our guest house owner. The tour included a day at a rice farm. That was interesting!

Rice plant - Mekong Delta

Rice Processing Plant – Vietnam

As you can see, the factory was dusty and filthy.

I had grown up with my grandmother always suggesting to wash your rice before you cook. I understood why once I saw the farm.

Fish farm – At the fish farm, as you can see, people lived in floating houses on the water with the fish living in cages underneath the house. When you opened the floor door to feed the fish, the fish would constantly jump around to attain the food, as you see in the photo. There were private tours (couples in canoes) and small tour boats like ours floating around and viewing the fish farms. It was unique scenery.

Vietnam Fish Farm

Fish Farm Below Floor

Viewing these photos again, I must say that I am still in awe of the place. The beauty and the simplicity and resourcefulness of the people were astounding. Only once, during the entire trip, did I hear something about Americans that made me feel uncomfortable. On the tour bus to the Mekong Delta, a guide stated that they used Durian fruit to drop on American soldiers to burst their heads open by the fruit. The guide was being informative and I believe, trying to be funny, however, everyone on the bus looked at us when this comment was made.

The Vietnam War museum was a solemn experience. We had walked blocks and blocks trying to locate this museum. When we entered the building, there were Vietnamese youth playing instruments and a sign indicating that the youth were victims of generational Agent Orange and were physically disabled and playing to earn money. An Agent Orange room was upstairs reminding us of the youth below us and how their parents/grandparents passed on the Agent Orange affects. I am not going to discuss the war and such here, it’s not the forum, and however, it was enlightening to view their side vs the Vietnam War movies I have seen from our side. Whatever you think about this war, both sides continue to have repercussions in their generations.

See Ten Things That Surprised Me About Vietnam