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Old 04-17-2012, 11:28 PM   #76
Comrade Art OP
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Day 9: Saigon to Can Giuoc

Mike has a large family and as with most Asian countries, dining is a communal affair. When the Vietnamese eat, there is a great deal of gutsy enjoyment and noisy slurping. We stuffed ourselves with fresh chicken, veggies and rice.



An hour later, Mike’s uncle decides that we should get Nhau on the Cua Tieu River, a tributary of the Mekong Delta. Nhau is what the Vietnamese call ‘party’ food and is the equivalent to happy hour in America. So we call a taxi and take half the village with us to get party food. In southern Vietnam the food reflects the region’s natural abundance. Here, dishes are bigger, more colorful and some say, more visually attractive.



Preparing the meal


Fresh catfish


Crab


We stayed at a hotel outside the village. The shower had a Jessica Alba ceramic tile that was amusing.



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Old 04-18-2012, 02:22 PM   #77
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Day 10: Saigon

There was a strange feeling the next morning: for eight straight days we would wake up, get on the bikes and ride for hours, constantly passing scooters, cars, trucks, buses bicycles, pedestrians, and animals. Our bodies became accustomed to the release of adrenaline, which kept us active and alert, and this day that temporary ‘high’ was absent. The bikes were gone and we had to depend on others for transportation. After a quick breakfast of iced coffee and waffles, we decided to venture into Saigon.

Iced coffee with milk (ca phe sua da)




The first stop was the local hospital. During our ride up north, one of Mike’s aunt’s was involved in a fatal scooter accident. Mike’s aunt and husband were cruising on their scooter when they were involved in a scooter collision; husband was thrown into oncoming traffic and killed by a large truck. Aunt sustained multiple fractures to her right radius and ulna.

In the last few years there’s been a raging and at times a nasty, uncivil, debate about health care in America. Our system in America is by no means perfect and changes are definitely needed. However, after visiting a Vietnamese hospital I realized how blessed we are in America. In Vietnam, patients are triaged and made to wait on a cot in the hallway of the hospital until a bed is available. Mike’s aunt had to wait four days until receiving a hospital bed. Once a bed was available, she was transferred to an air-conditioned room where she was surrounded by other hospitalized patients-no personal space and privacy. The doctors were waiting for the soft tissue bruising and swelling to decrease before taking her to surgery.

Hospital parking




Waiting for a bed





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Old 04-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #78
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Ended the day with a tasty meal and beer!
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What is that green vegetable called? We had that in Vietnam and it was amazing.

Fantastic photos!
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #79
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Day 10: Saigon

After the hospital visit, we took a short cab ride to Reunification Palace. The building was once the symbol of the South Vietnamese government, which hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and 58,183 Americans died trying to save.





On the morning of April 30, 1975, communist tanks crashed through the iron gates, a soldier ran into the building and up the stairs to unfurl a VC flag from the 4th floor balcony. General Minh, who had become head of the South Vietnamese state only 43 hours before, waited with his cabinet. "I have been waiting since early this morning to transfer power to you", Minh said to the VC officer who entered the room. "There is no question of your transferring power", replied the officer. "You cannot give up what you do not have." The Vietnam War was done.



Time has stood still here since 1975. The ground floor room was often used for conferences.



Phu Dau Rong, or Dragon's Head Room; place where president received foreign delegations.









View from 4th floor




Basement with war room





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Old 04-18-2012, 06:22 PM   #80
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What a great trip. Another country added to my list of places to visit. Thanks.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:46 AM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NerdSpeed View Post
Ended the day with a tasty meal and beer!
[/SIZE][/SIZE]

What is that green vegetable called? We had that in Vietnam and it was amazing.

Fantastic photos!
That is water spinach (rau muong)
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:03 AM   #82
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Day 10: Saigon

Next stop was Saigon Square for some shopping. Vietnam is a paradox; a communist government with a capitalist economy. This is a one party capitalist bureaucracy that doesn’t worry about elections and democratic rights.



Vietnam, like China, has long been a nation where copycatting is a national pastime.





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Old 04-24-2012, 11:44 AM   #83
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Day 10: Saigon

We were scheduled to fly out of Saigon at midnight so we ended the day with a family dinner.




No Monsanto genetically modified food here


I want to end this report with a few thoughts/observations:

*Prior to my departure for Vietnam I assumed the Vietnamese would not be friendly especially after what happened during the war. As I mentioned before, the people were very friendly, curious and hospitable; they look forward to a future that is far better than their past-a past that for them is old history.

*Vietnam is a young country. An estimated 65% of the population was born after hostilities ended. Many of these young Vietnamese are indifferent and less ideological that the Communist Party would like. In recent years it seems Vietnam is losing its bitterness toward America, seeing the war somewhat more objectively and gaining an understanding of why US troops were sent to fight.

*As we travelled over 1,800 kilometers we had a chance to see and experience where the Vietnam War was waged: manure-stinking rice paddies, mountain highlands, on white sand beaches, in the unbearable heat of a triple-canopied jungle, and in the muddy tributaries and surrounding waters. After this trip my heart goes out to the American soldier who fought in Vietnam. Many were good, decent young men, not the pot-headed druggies depicted in many books and movies-who served in an unpopular war because their country asked them to. America sent it’s sons to be maimed, crippled and to die for nothing because the political leaders of this country lost their will. The lack of determination was solely in the halls of power in Washington.

*The Vietnamese are a resilient people that eat everything and fix anything! As one South Vietnamese man told me, “We survived 1,000 years of Chinese occupation, 100 years of French occupation, 20 years of American occupation and we will survive the communist occupation.”

The End

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Old 04-24-2012, 11:58 AM   #84
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Fantastic RR!
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:10 PM   #85
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Great report. Thank you for sharing. Wish I could ride someday across Vietnam.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:58 PM   #86
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Thanks for sharing an excellent report. I want to go back to Viet Nam so bad!
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:23 AM   #87
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Thanks for your great report! (And thanks for helping me figure out that water spinach - buttery goodness.)
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:05 AM   #88
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loved the report, looked like an amazing ride!
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #89
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Thank you for bringing back so many memories of my three tours in Vietnam. I always enjoyed the people and their culture.

Even though I was engaged in a war in a far off land I had and have no malice or hatred of those who fought against us. And you are so correct when you wrote about carrying so much on our backs! I guess that is why war is waged by young, strong men and women.

Thank you or sharing your wonderful story.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #90
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Thanks for your great report.
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