Our November 15, 1969 chant during the anti-war demonstration in Washington DC was:

“Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min, the NLF is gonna win.”  It rings in my ears every day I’m in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi where he lived.  Back then I barely understood what the NLF (National Liberation Front) was.  What I knew was the Vietnam War had to end. Continue reading Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, A UN Heritage site, is a water and rock world of ghostly images.  It’s compiled of some 400 sq. miles of craggy rounded top rocks jutting out from the warm salt water in the perpetual haze that completely obscures everything more than three miles distant.  Each rock island is different, yet after two days of weaving through these huge unworldly rocks, they create a repetitive rhythm that is strangely relaxing.  The layered effect of progressively lighter gray outlines of rock islands in the distance creates an impression of a mountain range, even though you know the surface is 98% water.  The early November air is still soft and warm.  Our cabins in our private 8 cabin ship were unused but for naps and nights.  Just as well with an extended family of large rats running around in the ceiling above the bed. Continue reading Ha Long Bay

Sa Pa, Vietnam

Sa Pa area is home to eight of the fifty-four Vietnamese minority groups.  Mile high town serves as a trading center for the area and trekking base for visitors.  This French hill station was rebuilt after Chinese invasion leveled much of the town in 1979.  The Chinese were perturbed by Vietnam taking over their client state Cambodia earlier that year and retaliated by invading Vietnam.  With the help of long established military support from the Soviets, the Chinese invasion was turned back. Continue reading Sa Pa, Vietnam