Just back in from a visit with Frisbee Girl, who just returned from a long journey through Vietnam. Tonight was one of those, dinner, wine, and looking at photos that each have a story.
Of course I’ve always been fascinated by Vietnam, especially considering all the destruction that war brought that country only a few decades ago. But also because it is technically run by a communist government, though in this day-in-age, no communist government is really very communist. But let’s leave that discussion for another day.
Listening to FG’s stories and looking at these photos, I was amazed at the bustling life and beauty that seemed to fly out of every image. I’m talking not only of the beautiful nature, but also of the Vietnamese people and their amazing ways of doing things.
In looking at these photos and the background in each one, I saw very little signs of desperate poverty, as is sometimes assumed of this region of the world. I asked FG if she had noted widespread poverty, and she informed me that she had noted no such thing. Instead, she talked about how there weren’t people starving in the streets or begging every tourist for some money. She spoke and presented photos of the neverending amounts of trade and bartering that seemed to go on, fruit traded for fruit. Fish dried into paste. Rice cooked into puffed rice. Bananas grown into… bananas. In so many different regions she visited, the one thing I noted was that each one featured a large amount of people doing some sort of economic activity that involved the land or the sea.
Naturally I didn’t see these things first hand. And of course one person’s impression is not always the whole story. But i think there is something to be said for the quality of life Vietnam has achieved, especially having been bombed into the stone age, not so long ago.
I also came to another conclusion. With all the regional and international trade deals their government is starting to move towards, now is the time to go to Vietnam… before the global market turns it into a brave new world of mcdonalds, starbucks, and kfc.
Bonus: Went seeking a Vietnam based blog, found – Our Man in Hanoi.