Hello from Hue. Now it should be possible for everybody to give comments! There are so many things I'd like to write about but I guess I save the details for my diary and for discussions that I will be having with you! But in case you've just come across with this blog and the fact that I'm in Vietnam, I'll explain it all breafly. On May 4th I flew to Hanoi, Vietnam. I will be working there with the WHO. I don't know exactly what kind of work it will be but apparently they do so I don't worry. Before I start working I travel a bit. My main focus is on Vietnam and Laos but I will travel through Cambodia and Thailand as well. Now I'm in Central Vietnam, on Tuesday I'll probably go south to Ho Chi Minh City. Okay, now that this is cleared, let's give you something more interesting to read.
One of the most rewarding things with travelling is the interaction with other people. There are two factors that make my travelling interesting. I travel alone and I am extremely tall here. Let me explain.
Travelling alone gives the local people an opportunity to approach me. A 30-something guy, Dung, came to talk to me at the river bank in Hoi An. I met him a couple of times during the days I was there and in the end he gave me a ride to Danang (30km) with his motorbike. He was an interesting case. When he was a child, he had 4 brothers. During the American war in 1968 a bomb hit Hoi An. He was then 6 years old. Only he and his mother survived. 2 months after the bomb hit, the mother went to America and left Dung in the orphanage. He worked there for 32 years before an American man came to the orphanage and gave him enough money to buy a motorcycle. Now he does deliveries to different restaurants. He calls the American man his father. Dung showed me a paper with his mothers contact info, hand written and stained. She lives in San Jose, CA. Dung has been calling her every now and then but she doesn't care. She has 2 children there and a new life. Dung seemed very bitter and sad about that. "Vietnamese women!" he said. "I never marry woman. Never trust woman. Talk talk talk, then leave. No, I better alone.". In a country where the family defines what you are, those are heavy words to be said.
My height raises many eyebrows here. Many times people stop and stare at me. During my 9 hours in Hanoi, 3 people commented to me about my height. If I'm riding a bike, people turn around and go slower so that I'm forced to pass them. Today I went to a temple here in Hue. There was a goup of elderly tourists from Hanoi. When I passed them they started whispering but I ignored that. Then one of them came to me, asked about where I'm from etc and before I knew it, I was separately being photographed with every single person from the group. None of them reached even to my shoulders. So at the end we took a group photo and I shaked hands with everybody long and profoundly.
The Vietnamese have found me.