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Love – The Universal Language – A Story From Vietnam

September 24, 2012

My Grandma And I In 2003

On my last night in Hanoi something wonderful happened. I was couchsurfing with Van, an awesome 24-year-old woman and I got to meet her whole family. We were talking when her grandma walked up the stairs. Though she was a bit winded from walking up the stairs, she seemed in good health and spirits. She […]

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Hanoi, Vietnam – A Chaotic And Historic Capital

September 20, 2012

The Temple Of Literature

Hanoi was a bit underwhelming, to be honest. It’s the capital of Vietnam, its second-biggest city, and it was the last city I’d visit before heading to Laos. As I headed north in Vietnam, the people seemed to get less patient, more frenetic, more confrontational, and less respectful. And being in traffic was just horrible […]

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The Former Vietnam DMZ – Tunnels, Cemetery, And Military Base/Museum

September 19, 2012

Tunnel Entrance

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone cut the country in half along the 17th parallel. It was later moved to the Ben Hai River as you can’t see a degree of latitude in real life. Here is a video crossing the river from what used to be North Vietnam into South Vietnam: I visited the Demilitarized Zone […]

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Knowingly Getting Robbed On A Bus In Vietnam

September 18, 2012

bus thumb

I’m sure I have been cheated out of money dozens of times on my trip. I pay the “foreigner” tax or the “gringo” tax and that’s just how it goes. Sometimes I catch a small smirk as they earn twice as much as they should have from the sale, other times I’d never know. But […]

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Anh – The Smiling Undercover Superhero Of Da Nang, Vietnam

September 17, 2012

thumbnail anh

For me, Da Nang, Vietnam conjures up one image – the smiling face of Anh. In Da Nang I arranged to couchsurf with Phuong. But she told me I couldn’t stay in her home, but rather I’d stay with a friend of hers – the founder of an organization called Tam Thien that helps kids with […]

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Hoi An, Vietnam – Asia’s Ancient Trading Hub

September 15, 2012

Traditional Hoi An Way Of Life

Hoi An is one of the stops on the Vietnamese Tourist Trail. It used to dominate trade in Southeast Asia a couple hundred years ago and was a melting pot of trade among Asians, Arabs, and Indians – later Europeans as well. With such a rich history comes a very beautiful town. The streets are […]

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“Going Rogue” And Renting A Motorbike

September 13, 2012

Me On My Rented Motorbike

When I was in Ho Chi Minh City I had the crazy idea of buying a motorbike and exploring Vietnam on my own, going from city to city using my motorbike. Logic won me over in the end. Plus, I read online that if you are involved in an accident and you have no valid […]

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Dalat, Vietnam – Vietnam’s Honeymoon Capital Up In The Mountains

September 12, 2012

Flower Farm

Da Lat is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam and it’s easy to see why. You may think of the perfect honeymoon destination being a warm, sandy beach. But most Vietnamese people already live in a very hot environment and beaches line the coast. Da Lat offers something special for the Vietnamese – chilly weather! It […]

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So Many Questions And So Much Sadness In Southeast Asia

September 6, 2012

Amazing People (2)

So far my time in Southeast Asia has made me contemplate and look within a lot. It’d be easy to let the sadness of the recent past overwhelm all the awesomeness and smiles currently going on in these countries. But some horrible atrocities have been committed here very much within living memory – namely the […]

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Getting Beaten Up By An 80lb Woman And Other Fun Massage/Acupuncture Experiences

August 28, 2012

accu thumb

In Siem Reap I got a chance to try a few things I’ve never done before. When confronted with the opportunity to try something new, within reason, I never turn down the opportunity! Acupuncture I was familiar with acupuncture before coming here, but I had never had it done before. I don’t have any health […]

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Sunday Lunch With Four Generations Of A Vietnamese Family – And I Was Invited!

August 22, 2012

Eating Lunch On The Floor

On my last day in Ho Chi Minh City I had the opportunity to do something wonderful – have a family lunch with a friend’s family! My friend, Dung, and I met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2004 while in training for the oil company we were both to start working for, Schlumberger. We stayed […]

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Volunteering With Smile Group In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam And Visiting A Buddhist Orphanage/Nursing Home

August 21, 2012

Drawing With One Of The Kids

Smile Group is an organization started by Nguyen Van Hung to help children live in dignity with AIDS. More specifically, their mission statement is “to restore dignity and hope to children and families affected by AIDS, through financial, educational, moral and psychological support. We are committed to helping children and young adults have equal access to […]

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Being An American In Vietnam

August 20, 2012

Me And My New Friend Thanh

Many people asked me what it’s like being an American in Vietnam. I’d say it’s probably quite similar to being a Brazilian or a Swede in Vietnam. There were no problems or hard feelings at all. I experienced this phenomenon in the Middle East. When I moved to Abu Dhabi in 2004 I expected a […]

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Meeting Vietnam’s Most Famous Author – And Being Inspired To Write

August 18, 2012

Me And Nguyen Nhat Anh

On my last night in Ho Chi Minh City, Long, my couchsurfing host, and I decided to see a movie. We got the ticket and had two hours to eat dinner before the movie started. He told me there was a nice café nearby where we could eat and that Vietnam’s most famous author, Nguyen […]

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Peace Through Children’s Eyes

August 16, 2012

Peace Through Children's Eyes Paintings

At the War Crimes Museum/War Remnants Museum there was an exhibit dedicated to “Peace Through Children’s Eyes.” The goal was for children of Ho Chi Minh City to express their “thoughts and feelings on their peaceful and beautiful homeland and a war-free world full of friendship between peoples of the world.” Below are pictures of […]

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Visiting The Vietnam War Remnants / War Crimes Museum On July 4th

August 15, 2012

USA Military Remnants

I made the grave error of visiting the War Crimes Museum/War Remnants Museum on July 4th. The museum had remnants of American planes and tanks from the war and told the story of the war from the Vietnamese side. There’s no need to rehash the events of 40 years ago. There are plenty of books […]

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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam – The Times They Are A-Changin

August 14, 2012

Scooter Taxi With All My Stuff

Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon before the war) was my entry point to Vietnam. I arrived a bit sick from Singapore and full of weariness of what was to come. I wasn’t afraid, but I had no idea how much of the awesomeness from Latin America I’d have to sacrifice as a […]

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