Hello from vietnam everyone! arn here ...
Trip Start Oct 07, 2002
26Trip End Apr 18, 2003
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We made it here safe and sound Saturday morning. After Laos we held up for a couple of nights in a very, very nice hotel only venturing out a couple of times so that we could slowly acclimate ourselves. So far Vietnam is very nice and clean, especially in comparison to Laos. And it's very orderly ... except for the traffic which is completely insane. Not many people can afford cars so everyone drives motorcycles. Driving here simply means blowing your horn to get people to move out of your way. It's hard to describe because it's so unbelievable ... people will just cruise up to an intersection (even with an upcoming red light or going the wrong way on a road) without slowing down and just beep their horn and keep going!!! Somehow everyone seems to swerve around each other without too much bloodshed ..
The people here are less reserved than in Thailand or Laos. They aren't as quiet and aren't worried about showing emotions. They are also very persistant sales people ... but for the most part they are very friendly. Hanoi has a lot of charm and we quickly fell in love with it. The French history of the country is readily apparent as it was in Laos ... French colonial architecture, cafes with French dishes and menus and many people speak the language. There is a also a significant population of Christians here and so we have seen a lot of signs of Christmas which has been very heart warming and made us homesick all at the same time.
Tonight we saw a Vietnamese Water Puppet theatre show. It is a uniquely Vietnamese art form developed by farmers in the 11th century as a way to amuse themselves in the wet season. They have puppets that perform on a stage of water ... it's very cute.
Tomorrow we will leave for a two day tour of Halong Bay. The morning after we return to Hanoi we will start heading down the coast toward the old Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Internet availability is a little scarce even here in Hanoi, so we thought we would make another entry here while we had the chance ... we might not get another until December 22nd when we're scheduled to be back in Thailand. So if we don't write until then that's why. In the mean time please take care of each other.
God Bless one and all and happy Christmas!
Love Arn & Jayne