January 10, 2003 morning
The First Day
Wow! This place is unbelievable. Ive never seen a water buffalo when landing at an airport before. Heck! Ive never seen a water buffalo. Honestly, its been a bit overwhelming. The hour-long bus ride to the hotel took us through some areas of amazing wealth existing right beside areas of tremendous poverty. It was difficult, but the people seem amazing, though. Our guides Phiem and Kuan are fabulous, very enthusiastic and interesting. I am sure they will make this an incredible experience.
I feel much better after a good meal last night of pork skewers, noodle soup, papaya salad, fish, and flaming pineapple in brandy for dessert. I slept fairly well, even considering the unexpected and mistaken wake-up call at 4:45am. But all is well now. Ill go shower and join my father* for breakfast before we start our first busy day of touring.
*My father, who served in Vietnam during the war,
came with us on the trip.
||January 10, 2003 evening
Im just getting ready to hit the sack now after a long and exhausting day of discovering Hanoi. This city has some amazing beauty. Ho Chi Minhs old house and new museum were both incredible. His tomb is intimidating, but remarkable. I hear were going to see his body on Monday. After visiting these places and the lake where John McCain was captured (a little disturbing), we had a good lunch at a French-inspired café. Oh, and I shouldnt forget the Temple of Literature, the first University in Vietnam. Strangely enough, Meg and I ended up speaking French with a Vietnamese girl looking for foreign friends who happened to be there. The photographer, Avery Crounse and his daughter Erin, are lovely people, and a great addition to the group.