Vietnam & Americans

I’ve hesitated writing this post for months.

From the WSJ


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