Saturday, October 14, 2006


It's 4 Pm on Saturday and I've just come back from a very interesting day with the Vietnamese father of one of my students from the IUT of Sceaux.

A real "intellectual" whose father was a famous painter and studied in France and whose ancestors were "mandarins", he gave me a lovely tour of the cultural sights of Hanoi and told me a lot about Vietnamese culture.

He told me that the Vietnamese are not grudge-bearers, and therefore respect both the French and the Americans. I learned all about the life of Ho Chi Minh and how, after asking for independence from France and not even being given the possibility to negotiate, he came to become a communist and turned to Russia for help. Apparently, HCM really lived according to
his own principles and was not corrupt, whereas day today the party no longer acts that way. My host, Monsieur Nguyenb, seems optimistic about the way Vietnam is going today.

As he said, he and his eight brothers and sisters, although "bourgeois" and intellectuals, were not harmed during the wars and have survived throughout all their history. A pacifist and a true Budhist, he has a wonderfully tolerant outlook and I really enjoyed spending several hours with him. We walked, took taxis and finished with a late lunch along a lake. It was lovely.

This evening, I've bought a ticket to see the water puppet show, and tomorrow I leave for a two-night tour on Halong Bay. The first night we sleep on the boat, the second in a hotel on Cat Ba Island. I think I'll go on the trekking exhibition when I'm on the island.

In the meantime, I'm writing this from the crummy hotel where I'm staying. I arrived at the Hanoi airport yesterday evening, only to discover that the driver who was supposed to pick me up and the reservation I'd made by Internet at the Stars Hotel couldn't be honored because of an overbooking problem. So, I was taken to a "sister" hotel which is pretty sinister, and I've had to change rooms this afternoon, but the staff are nice and helpful. It's just a bed, but still...

Just one thing, yesterday in the bus to the Hue airport, I met three delightful male "backpackers" in their 30s--one from Australia, one from Holland and one from Spain. The four of us sat together on the plane and chatted while waiting for our flight. Such nice young people--well-traveled, interested and curious. Marco, I got the Australian's address in Sydney, and he said to look him up if you ever get down their again.

Well, that's all folks for now...Please keep in touch.



At October 16, 2006 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi mum, how is my favorite "asian easy rider"?? have fun and enjoy!!


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