Vietnam & Americans

I’ve hesitated writing this post for months.

From the WSJ

Why?

Because I know how sensitive this subject can be for Americans of my generation. I didn’t want to offend or disrespect anyone.

Disrespectful to the American veteran who was put into a shitty situation thru no fault of their own and told to fix it, without the tools to do so. Disrespectful to those who lost life and loved ones. Disrespectful to those Vietnamese, who if they survived the war years, then had 20 years of a very hard life or if lucky enough, were able to flee with only the clothes on their backs.

So, what changed? Living on and off here for the past year, I see people, no matter what their background who are truly appreciate of Americans, like Americans and just want to work hard.

I’m watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Hanoi. Find it someplace and you can see in pictures and sound what I am trying to explain poorly.

I just got back from two weeks in the country for the Tet holiday.  Upcountry as some could say, in Quang Nam province, just southwest of Danang.  Simply put, Tet is about remembering the dead and living. Country living here is like living in the countryside in Europe 30 years ago or the USA 50 years ago.  Yes, that means we have electricity and cold running water, but everything else may be luxury.

Former ARVN (left) & VC are now the best of freinds. (He had just showed me the scar of the hole in his leg when he was shot by VC) We then both looked at her and everyone laughed. (it was a bit surrealistic for me).
The memorial to the father of Trinh sister’s husband. KIA during Tet 1968 while fighting with/for the Americans.

I was overwhelmed with the warmth of the people: friends, neighbors and family of Trinh’s mother and family. They would lend us motorcycles to get around. I was invited to every neighbor’s party. Everyone had to come by and drink with me.  I drank a lot of beer and my new-found drink, rượu nếp, which is much like Korean makgeolli (막걸리, but a bit less effervescent.

I think Dauntless needs eyes

Now, cruising here with Dauntless is another story. A complicated story for another time.

Trihn’s mother’s house and memorial dinner

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

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