VIETNAM (March 2014)

The irony that I am choosing to visit a country that many in my father's generation tried their hardest not to be drafted and sent to does not escape my attention. Were my father still alive, I'm not sure what he'd make of this visit. Vietnam has always been a sore spot in the history of the United States--a conflict many did not want to fight and were not afraid to loudly vocalize. I come to this country simply as a traveler, an American without the history of my father's generation.

It's a fourteen hour flight from LAX to Taipei, beating my previous record by thirty minutes, and then another three hours to Hanoi. We're actually able to sleep for a goodly portion of the first flight and are upgraded for the second leg, which already gets me liking Vietnam. We decided to try their quasi visa on arrival, which, while not the most clear process in the world, does work and we're soon heading to our hotel.

Hanoi (color and black & white), while not Vietnam's largest city, is possibly its most hectic. At least its narrow lanes filled with bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, and cars makes it seem that way. One just heads into traffic when wanting to cross the street and hopes for the best.

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All text and photographs Copyright © 2006-2014 by Jeremiah A. Gilbert.
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