White Boots Marching Through a Yellow Land

Trip Start Apr 15, 2012
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Trip End Jun 06, 2012


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Flag of Vietnam  , Quang Nam-Da Nang,
Sunday, May 13, 2012

As the journey meanders north towards the DMZ, evidence of the American War becomes clearer.  A trip to the 9th Century Cham ruins at My Son was troubling.

Hoi An is described in Lonely Planet as a city mutually spared from damage and destruction  and damage by mutual practice of the Americans and the VC.  My Son was not so lucky.

This UNESCO historical site is pockmarked with bomb craters.  There are 8 sites there -- the first site alone had 5 craters from 500 pound American bombs--WM stopped taking bomb pics after that.

There was an old man there selling little hand fans.  He had one leg. WM approached to buy from him. Asked about his leg.  He was a VC fighter, made it through the war without a scratch, then in 1983 was plowing his field and hit unexpolded ordinance that blew off his leg and killed his buffalo.  He made sure to accentuate the death of his buffalo as an expression of his own humility.

In this blog I try to refrain from judging, however, I cannot comprehend the strategic wisdom of killing 2 million Vietnamese in that war and 40,000 since then through unexploded ordinance.

The old man wanted 20,000 for one fan. I would have given him 20,000 as minor war reparations, but I treated him like a man instead of a cause and bargained with him, getting two fans for 20,000. 
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Comments

Greg Luke on

Hey, I spent Christmas eve and Christmas day, 1969 in DaNang. Crawled into a narrow tunnel and stayed there while the VC rockets rained into the base from the surrounding mountains. The plywood bar for the BOQ, called "assholes over elbows" was destroyed. Remember Nixon's Christmas truce? One of the heaviest fighting of the year.

Hope your hotel is a little nicer. At least my tunnel accommodations were free!

I see you are remembering that war, up front and personal. That was the war meant to stop the domino effect spread of Chinese communism. :-/

wandering_man
wandering_man on

In my trip it appears to me that the Vietnamese people are disciplined, resilient, industrious, and friendly. It won't be long before they replace Thailand as the major economy of the Tigers.

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