Tuesday, December 13, 2005
My recent trips to Vietnam
Having recently, November 2004 and September 2005 returned from visits to Vietnam I feel compelled to start this blog to act as a journal and a recollection of my visits. Not to include my almost 1 year "visit" sponsored by my Uncle Sam back in 1971. I have always had a yearning to return to Vietnam at some point in time and reaquaint myself with the people and culture of this beautiful and fascinating country. Having spent very little time in any of the major cities on my 1st visit I was consumed with the people and customs I was confronted with upon my 1st return trip in 2004. I had found a website sponsored by a volunteer organization where you could aid a Dental outreach in DaNang Vietnam. I was hooked, not wanting to return on a veterans tour as I felt no need for healing in that way I contacted Kim at Global Humanitarian Tours and signed up. With much apprehension I proceeded to navigate through the myriad of forms and insurances necessary to visit "The Nam". I almost missed my connection in LA for my flight to Bangkok and was having fits and not being able to sleep was a walking zombie by the time I hit the airport outside oh Bangkok. Our hotel was connected by a skyway and I had no trouble getting to it but alas my bags did not make the voyage with me. Always and I mean this in the worst possible way, when they say"don't worry"....That's when you really need to start worrying. It took me no less than 3 days to retrieve my bags after reaching DaNang. More about that later. We checked in and had a few fitful winks of sleep and got together in the lobby of the hotel the next morning to coordinate our adventure. The people of Thailand were very beautiful and exotic and very helpful. Except the guys with automatic weapons at customs. Having never met our fearless leader Kim or any of the other members of the Dental Outreach team we started the slow process of warming up to each other. Kim who had had some experience in Tibet and I think India up to this point had been to Vietnam for a few days on a return trip from Tibet to acquaint herself with Nam. The one other member of our team was Tom Han an ex pat Viet Kieu of Chinese persuasion who was coerced into returning by his wonderful and beautiful companion Donna,who is a dentist outside of LA. , and I were the only personnel on the trip who had been to Nam. Tom having left at the tender age of 10 years old at the bequest of the Vietnamese government along with a lot of the Chinese Vietnamese merchant class, an erstwhile peaceful disaspora.