When you tell a baby boomer that you’re going to Vietnam, you might as well tell them you’re going to Afghanistan. Why on earth would you want to go to there?? But the last 40 years have changed Vietnam immensely. Despite its terribly violent and disturbed history, the country is growing and flourishing into a world player. The country is stunningly beautiful and the people were surprisingly (almost shockingly) lovely to these two Americans. It seems like the past is all but forgotten (or forgiven is a better word). No need to hold on to a grudge when, really, you’re only hurting yourself.
Sure we crashed some motorcycles, saw a child’s head get smashed by a gas tank on a scooter, and almost died in every taxi we got in, but that’s just part of the lifestyle and experience. Hanoi has, without a doubt, the worst, most insane traffic I have ever seen. Sides of the road, right-of-way, signaling, traffic lights?? Get outta here. Whomever has the biggest balls has the right-of-way. I hear India is worse…can’t wait!
We started in Hanoi, and then flew to Ho Chi Minh in the south of the country, and then finished with a relaxing vacation on the southern island of Phu Quoc, a beautiful little island with near perfect beaches (unless you’ve been to the Philippines) and millions of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, we skipped the entire middle of the country. Guess we’ll have to go back…
I want to take a moment to promote one of the better dining experiences that I’ve had throughout my travels. The Pepper Tree at the La Veranda resort on Phu Quoc island in southern Vietnam is superb. One of those places that will make you fall in love with foods that you previously despised. A true treat for anyone venturing that far out into the world. Don’t miss it.
I took a lot away from Vietnam. It was my last stop before returning to the States for the first time in over two years. And unfortunately, my international travel would be slowing down quite a bit for a while as I took time to build a life back in the states. I can’t think of a better last stop to close a very long trip to Asia. What a fantastic journey it had been. And what a country to say goodbye to. Don’t let your visions of the past stop you from going to places that have changed, flourished, and developed into fantastic destinations. I just hope that places like Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq can follow in the footsteps and develop into functioning and developing environments so I can visit them too.