April 9, 2007

Day 44 :: War [is everywhere]

Day 44 - Na Trang

Sitting in a cafe in Hue, I can't help but think about the war. Better said, I can't help to continue thinking about the war, because when you are an American traveling in Vietnam, it's hard to think about much else.

The "American War" - which ended only 32 years ago - left a heavy mark on this land, not only physically but socially as well. For example, our tour guide who led us through the Demilitarized Zone (a stretch of land on the 17th parallel that divided North and South Vietnam) not only fought in the South Vietamenese army but was also sent to a re-education camp after the North Vietnamese Communist captured Saigon. The landscape our guide showed us - a dense jungle during his childhood - was now an open field for miles around. The Americans dropped so many Napalm Bombs in the area that the entire jungle was obliterated. Even today, huge bomb craters still carve out the country-side.

As we travel, people everywhere - from our tour guide to the restaurant staff to kids in the villages - speak clear English, partly because of the American presence here. Yesterday, as we rode our motorcycle to a secluded beach, the children chased after us calling "Hello! Whea aw u frum?" As our bike flew past, we flashed the peace sign back to them and shouted,



American War Base in the DMZ, an area that was once a dense jungle:

Young rubber trees the government replanted after they were wiped out from Napalm bombs:

One of many gravesites for the soldiers of the War. Nearly three million Vietnamese died during the War:


::athada:: said...

3 million? Never knew that. Then again, you usually don't put enemy deaths in textbooks...

pk said...

2 years ago when I was in that neck of the woods I remember Vietnam celebrating the 30 year mark of having "defeated the American army". I found that interesting.

dwayne said...

Yeah Canada!

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