On our return to Saigon, we were informed that our reservations on China
Airlines were no longer valid. After bickering with the staff for hours
and being delayed two days, we finally boarded a flight home. If you do go
to Vietnam, make sure you re-confirm your flight. Although not all my
experiences in this country were entirely pleasant, I would highly
recommend that you visit as soon as possible. The nation is still
undergoing an incredible transformation from a well preserved agricultural
society to o
ne that will inevitably embrace a free market. The street vendors who sell
Ho Chi Minh t-shirts are a sign of changes to come. If you go now, you can
experience what traveling in the far east was like ten years ago.
In retrospect, I found exactly what I had expected in Vietnam. A land where the people are curious and friendly. A place where after years of isolation, they eagerly greet visitors (sometimes a little too eager, as they tug on your shirt or backpack to ge t your attention.) A lush, pastoral countryside where farmers use the same tools and techniques they have for centuries. Lastly, a place completely unlike any of the re-created war zones and POW camps of Hollywood fantasy. Vietnam is real. The people have been bitten, however they are not shy.
It's been over two years since I posted this story. It's amazing to me how many people have found this site. I have received many interesting and educational comments from visitors. I've heard from Vietnam Veterans, residents of Saigon, Americans and Europeans who are on their way to visit. I've received praise and criticism. A few notes to all...
1. I am in no way an authority on travel there. I'll give you advice as best I can, but please understand that I was only there for three weeks.
2. The comments in this story are completely subjective.
Best wished to everyone!