I am slowly making my way up Viet Nam. I have just
come from Delat, a great place full of fresh produce,
as well as pine trees! That was different and at times
I felt like I was home again. I then went to Nha
Trang, a little too beach resort like for me. I took
the night bus from there to Hoi An on a basically none
existent road, now I rest.
I think I ate one too many pieces of fresh produce, or
in one extra dirty market....cause now my stomach is
feeling it. I cant really seem to hold much in...but I
wont bore you with the details of that.
It is interesting, when sick in a country like this
irritation comes much easier. I don't want to buy
anything, I don't want to tell anyone where I am from,
which is always just the start of some proposition or
another..Suddenly all the beautiful smiles seem a bit
less charming and I would rather they were not looking
at me at all.
Viet Nam is extremely aggressive when it comes to
slinging their wears. Half the time they don't smile
at all. They stare at you with cold eyes, not hearing
you when you say no.
No cam on...No, No, No...thank you.
I have no problem with people trying to make a living,
but when they do it with an evil glare, everything
I am in no way saying this is how the people are. they
are beautiful, extremely spiritual and devoted to
their way of life. They just want money to go along
Vietnam is just getting back on its feet. Money is
pouring into the country through tourism. They have
signs everywhere exclaiming how this will be the
tourist destination of the millinnium.
They want it bad...
So the whole socialist/communist thing is pretty
interesting. The people that sell stuff on the streets
have to be pre approved by the government, they wear
photo ID so the police will not arrest them.
When checking into a hotel you must hand over your
passport. You do not get it back until check out. This
way the government knows exactly where you are the
entire time. A traveler can't rent a car, only a
driver. You must travel through one of the three
existing tour groups, and they only go to certain
towns. Basically, they do a pretty good job of keeping
you where they want you.
I went to the Kingdom of Champa today. It dates back
to the 4th century and is equivlant to Ankor Wat,
except that the U.S destroyed over half of the temples
because the Viet con were hiding there. It was the
land around the temples that took my breath away. It's
the Viet Nam that everyone knows. The one from the
movies. Deep green jungle, mountains, smokey clouds..
Countless bombs still lay everywhere deep in the
(this letter is bits and pieces from the last
week..the stomach is much better, thanks..)
I think this letter has taken so long to write because
I am developing a strong love/hate/understanding
relationship with this place. It is difficult for me
to explain how I feel when I am having such a hard
time figuring it out myself.
Prisoners to their own home. Yesterday I met a man
named An, he worked with the Americans during the war.
We talked for a long time and he told me he is lucky
he's alive. After the Americans left and the North
won, he was treated as a threat to the country. He had
dared to go against the power, for that he had to pay.
He was sent to camps as a slave...Until two years ago
he was not allowed a regular job. The goverment would
never employ him, allow him education, land...all
human rights, gone.
He wants to leave Viet Nam, have a free life. Once
he tried but the government pulled him right back. For
his desire he was severely punished.
I am going on a "tour," as they must be called, with
An. He is going to show me real Vietnam and teach me
about the war. Finally...
War Happens.... Vietnam has been at doing it for
centuries. It is our war however, that gave An the
dark, sad eyes.. Years of pain. He wants me to learn,
he wants me to tell... Too many secrets for far to
The more I learn, the more I understand the sadness in
these peoples eyes. The pushiness in their manner, and
what it must be like for them to look at me. Freedom
in everything I do.
On a more personal note...(My life I mean.) I broke my
brand new Camera. I was very in love with it, a test
of my material devotion.
I have been hanging out with a group of strong,
powerful women from all over the world. We are quite a
Hoi An has tailors on every corner. You can get
absolutely anything made and I am getting two dresses
for burning man. Beyond that, as tempting as it is, I
must save money. This town has an old, chinese style
to it. The streets are all very small. A river runs
through it with the beach only four kilometers away.
It is great. I have been here for over a week now.
As confusing as this letter is, I am going to send it
anyway. I have so much more I want to tell..but this
one needs to go..
Much love to you,
May luck and prayer be with you.