Eden Waters Press, editor Anne Brudevold
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Hang your laundry on the roof (our hotel was one story higher than our neighbor's house, so we had a bird's eye view). Trash gets collected every night. The carts come by your house ringing a bell so you can bring out your junk.
This is Hanoi. Property values are calulated by width, so buildings are NARROW and high, one story piled on another
Yes, folks, there is electricity in Vietnam. This is a stunning view of the power lines supplying our hotel in Halang Bay, a tourist town south of Hanoi. People live on boats all over this Bay, and sell pearls, cigarettes, and snacks from their boats. The pearls are about $15.00 for earrings and a single strand. They are grainy to the teeth, as real pearls should be. I'll let you know when and if mine melt when I have them on on a sunny day. Here's a vision. They melt and suddenly I am back in Halang Bay, hiking in the surrounding mountains, kayaking in the bay, exploring the limestone caves. Suddenly I am back in Pirate times and have discovered a treasure trove in one of the corners of a cave that goes on ffor mles. Suddenly I am a Viet Cong soldier hiding from the Americans in this labyrinth that I know that the American doesn't know. Suddenly an American soldier who has discovered me is a skull leering from a chalky pool, still mouthing the words, "Yes America will free the word. Yes we will win this war and all wars against countries that can be of advantage to us. Yes I have a wife and family. Yes I wanted to go to college. Yes I signed up for the navy. I never expected to fight. Look at me and cry."
Vietnam charges ahead and doesn't seem to look back, except for the occasional encounter a la above. Tourism is in full swing, not for war memories only, but for the gorgeous nature, the culture, cheap living. Lots of Aussie backpackers.