Farewell Vietnam

Well I didn’t manage to see the sea this morning because there was so much rain it made a huge puddle in the path that I was just not willing to wade through just before a flight.

The taxi Dzung’s ?grandson ordered for me is driving me pretty much parallel to the sea and quite close but I can’t see it because of all the buildings and an enormous construction site in the way. I shall have to content myself with the brief moment’s view I had of it from the night train on the morning we arrived into Da Nang.

Actually I’m not convinced this is a taxi. It seems a bigger newer car than I would have expected and I suspect is being driven by a relative of Dzung. Well, fair play to her! This is such luxury after all the bike and train experiences. I am enjoying it!

I had thought that it might be raining all the time I was here. I am so glad it wasn’t. That would’ve really made the trips I did less enjoyable. Emily told me that the coldest it ever gets in a Hoi An is normally about 8 degrees C. Once she can remember it reached 5. When it’s 8 degrees she said people don’t go out because it’s too cold! Gosh. That would render the UK an indoor nation!

The cheapest thing at the airport I could find was a bottle of pop, which would cost me $USD2.80 (and the most expensive place to eat here is Burger King – go figure!). Given that Hoang told me about 20 years ago motorbikes here cost $USD300, so many people purchased one for their family, that’s something to think about; 107 bottles of pop in the airport today for the price of a motorbike 20 years ago?! In the UK I very much doubt there’s ever been a time when that would apply. Except maybe if we’re talking about a fourth hand motorbike that is in need of very serious repairs.

I have 27000VND left to get shot of which is worth about $USD1.16. Anywhere I’ve been in Vietnam that would have easily been enough to buy me a coffee or a cold drink. Oh well!

The other thing to note is that apparently after the Vietnam War (1975) the population of Vietnam was under 49 million people. Today, just 44 years later, it’s over 96 million people. No wonder the motorbikes are all over the place and the infrastructure is struggling to keep up.

There is a quiet determination and pride in their country in the Vietnamese people I have met. Their struggle for independence is beginning to pay off, the wars are ended, tourism is growing and bringing a lot more wealth to the country. They were quite shocked to hear my rather negative view of my own country’s politicians and current attitude to the wider world. Again and again I found myself reminded of how great wealth brings great power and opportunity, and with them, great responsibility. Which wealthy countries mainly ignore, keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the main aim of making more wealth for ourselves. Is that really the main aim of our time on earth? And if not, how could we live within the systems of our wealthy countries but adopt different aims, a more positive, generous and kind attitude towards the rest of the world, and a more humble narrative about our place within it? Is it possible, I wonder? Worth considering at least.

2 thoughts on “Farewell Vietnam

  1. As someone who grew up in the Tin(pot) Islands, warm rain was one of the great finds in East Asia. Without needing Gene Kelly or pharmacological assistance, I’m wet but not cold… does not compute, in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

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