Ah, so that’s why I almost nodded off on the bus… I realised it’s only just over a week ago that I left New Zealand! Since then I’ve passed through another two countries and now am in a third. I will be in Vietnam for a little while yet, I’m glad to say.
The bus in question was from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. About a two hour journey, but we had a rest stop making it a bit longer. The rest stop was here:
This was a huge craft place with sewn/embroidered/lacquered/jewellery etc items for sale, all made by victims of Agent Orange (Dioxin poison gas) that the US used seemingly indiscriminately on the Vietnamese during the war. The sign said the Vietnamese government estimates that 400000 people were killed or maimed and 500000 children were born with birth defects as a result. The victims all have problems with sensory functions, many being dumb or deaf, and also other physical deformities and mobility problems. Some of these people were working in the most intricate embroidery “paintings” while we were there.
This rest stop also has some immaculately clean rest rooms, which I was grateful for. And a café, which I walked through to see a very different landscape now emerging: