Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So, I just realized that I had not posted anything about my trip to Vietnam at the beginning of April. My friend Kara had to leave the country to get her visa renewed, so I happily agree to head to Ho Chi Minh for a long weekend with her. It was really great to get out of Cambodia and see something a bit different for a few days. That last statement should not be construed to mean that I am not 110 percent in love with Cambodia. However, it is nice to get out and see something else sometimes! And, though Vietnam is only a few hours ride on a busy away from Cambodia, they are worlds apart! Kara and I were nearly giddy upon our arrival. We were not sure what to do with the semi-orderly traffic, the lack of dirt and dust everywhere, all the trees and grass in the parks, and buildings taller than 5 stories. It was literally like entering another world. We had a great time exploring and shopping in the markets and visiting some historical sites.
We went to a handicraft factory that employs disabled people. There are a lot of disabled people in Vietnam as a result of the chemicals used during the war. These chemicals are still causing birth defects in children today. Much of the art in Vietnam uses sea shell and eggshell to craft elaborate scenes. It was amazing to watch them carefully craft all of these things.
We then went on to the Cu Chi tunnels. These are the series of tunnels used by the VietCong to escape the enemy (aka the U.S.).
This is me inside an American tank. I love that there are no ropes keeping you off of anything in Asia. You can climb on anything. I am hoping to make a visit to the zoo soon because I figure I can reach my hand right into the cage and pet the tigers! Ok, maybe I won't do that...unless they are sleeping...
This is me preparing to crawl through the tunnels. You can't really tell, but I am pretty much dripping with sweat, which is probably why my face looks a bit funny. Southeast Asia is hot people!!!

After the Cu Chi tunnels, we made a trip to the War Remnants Museum.This was the only picture I took at the museum because I don't really want to remember anything that I read or saw inside the museum. Let's just say that my heart was broken, and there were definitely tears involved.

In order to do something a bit lighter for our evening, we opted for a delicious dinner of ice cream and fondue. This was amazing, folks!
And, after typing this whole post, I realized this picture is sideways...oh well. We were so excited about being in a nation much more developed. Thus, we went to see a a real theater...with real popcorn!!!! We don't have any of that in Cambodia!!! We saw Alice in Wonderland, which was actually really good. However, it probably wouldn't have mattered what the movie option was, we would have gone regardless!
Being in Vietnam made me realize a lot of things.
1. I love Cambodia and much prefer living there to Vietnam (but Vietnam is certainly a nice weekend getaway)
2. Cambodia is still so very far behind in development compared to other SE-Asian countries
3. Cambodia has lost so much of its unique culture. Vietnam has distinct cultural dress and art and handicrafts while Cambodia contains mostly copies of other SE-Asian nations' dress and arts. This is a result of the years of genocide and civil war that Cambodia is still working to recover from.
4. Cambodian people are some of the most friendly people on earth!!!! (Way more friendly than the Vietnamese!)
5. I really don't realize that I miss things until I have access to them (i.e. movie theaters), which definitely makes living in Cambodia all the more enjoyable for me! Thank God for making me flexible and adaptable!

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