I’m so glad to be back. I think two weeks in VN with
my family was enough time for me. Traveling with them
is always a learning experience and fun. But I like
sometime alone once in awhile. This last two weeks I
felt kind of claustrophobic because I was either
surrounded by my sisters and parents at all time or
constantly being solicited by the poor local merchants
in VN who are just trying to make a living.
I was so tired when I got off the plane. I went home
and jumped into bed first thing and now just woke up.
I haven’t yet unpacked, so I thought I put that off
and do some writing instead.
I did some last minute shopping in Saigon downtown and
bought a pair of trendy, versace sunglass from a girl
in her early 20’s. I thought about her when I looked
back at my trip. She sold me a pair of sunglass and I
don’t think she made any profit from it for her owner,
so I felt bad. She asked me to give her a higher
price because the owner will not be happy if she sells
it for the price I offered. She literally begged me.
I thought about raising my offer because she seemed so
nice and desperate to make a sale. But then I changed
my mind about buying after my sister said she didn’t
like the look of it. So I gave it back and she knew
that I no longer wanted it so she didn’t say anything
more but that I can have it for the price I offered
which is $10 in US dollars. I didn’t know how to tell
her that I no longer wanted the sunglass, so I ended
up buying it. She looked so sad when she handed me
the bag. I walked away thinking to myself maybe I
should go back and give her more money. And then I
thought to myself I wished she didn’t sell it to me if
she was going to be so upset about it.
After seeing VN, I feel so lucky to be here in the
United States. VN is so corrupted. I have heard
stories about bribery to obtain certain things or to
get out of unwanted business and witnessed some things
that are so unfair. I was in Ha Noi waiting in line
to see a show and I saw a homeless man walked by a
group of tourist. He was shoved and screamed at by a
policemen to get away from the area. Another incident
occurred where a lady’s baskets of fruits was grabed
and taken away by the policemen because she was trying
to sell it to the tourists. He did it to several
ladies and some managed to struggled and hung on to
their baskets as they ran away with only some fruits
falling out of their baskets. I tried to take
pictures of these incidents while it happened but I
was too afraid he might come after me and question me
or grab my camera away from me.
It didn’t occur to me that I’m in another country and
I can’t speak freely about anything. When I asked the
taxi driver about certain political issues my sister
shushed me and reminded me that I might be reported
and questioned for the things I said. She said she
have read stories where people have been set up and
detained just because the authorities didn’t like them
for whatever reasons. This was all very unsettling to
What is the point of working hard and obtaining
possessions when it can be taken away from you with
little or if any compensation? Although, this is not
a problem for the majority of the people in VN because
from what I saw most people are just getting by and
making just enough to live on.
I didn’t study history or political science like I
should have when I was in school, so I’m going to ask
and make dumb questions and comments. Why is Vietnam
not advance like Korea? During my intermitten flight
stop, I was in Korea for several hours and got a
chance to walk around the city. I couldn’t tell if I
was in a part of the United States or Korea if it
weren’t for the street signs. They seemed so
organized and cleaned. The roads are as good as new.
It was nothing like Saigon where the traffic was a
nightmare, total chaos and confusion for the riders
and the pedestrian. The smell of carbon monoxide on
the street is dizzying. The Koreans definitely have
a better life than the people in VN in terms of
wealth. I saw a McDonald and Starbucks and it
reminded me of the United States. Then I noticed that
all their cars are made from Korea. I tried looking
for a BMW or a Honda but did not see one. I have read
in the papers that Japan has a limit on imported
products from other countries and it looks like Korea
has the same policy.
The people of Vietnam are just as smart as any other
people. The Vietnamese have succeeded far more then
any other culture having just established themselves
in the United States in a short time. For example, I
don’t see a nice established Japanese or Korean
shopping mall like the Vietnamese have in CA. In
terms of academics, they have done just as well.
Again, why is Vietnam, my country, looks so sad
compared to Korea or Japan? I’m sure there is a
logical answer but right now I’m too lazy to research
and find out.
Well, I think that concludes my little stories and
observations of my trip. I hoped you enjoyed reading
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