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Brian Thom’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Location: Hoi An, Vietnam

MapWe went on a city tour of Hanoi which was good because none of us were too into it's pure 100% craziness. Climbing into a van driven by a Vietnamese man from Hanoi makes you feel invincible, so the tour was fine. You are now just one with the intricate meanderings of traffic, and by intricate I mean lunacy.

We went to two museums that displayed Vietnamese history (sweet) and had all sorts of objects, pictures, displays up. We expected this tour to be slanted towards the communists and the north, and we were right. It definitely portrayed the country's rule under France as horrible, and this was also the case during the 60's and 70's with the Americans and they're military tactics. It's tough to explain on an internet blog, but Vietnamese culture and history is a blend of the French colonisation, Chinese rule (a period of 1000 years), and then the Americans and the influence of communism. Only in the last 20 years has Vietnam been peaceful, and this period has been basically the first time in a very very long time for these people.

Next we moved to Ho Lao prison, which was constructed by the French to throw misbehaving Vietnamese in. It is essentially just a dungeon where they strapped people in by their legs and left them for several years. If you were on death row, well, there were a couple guillotines for your disposal. Ho Lao prison was where Senator John McCain (possible next president I thought?) stayed for a few years after he was shot down when he fought in the war. They have a bunch of his clothing, parachute, gun, stuff like that.

After the city tour we laid low, hung around with the Munchkins and waited to get the hell out of there (Hanoi was too busy for us, or at least me). We boarded a plane and flew down to Danang (the town where the U.S. first landed when they invaded) and then took a bus to Hoi An. This is where we are staying now. More to come I'm sure as we are headed to a Pool party tomorrow night.

Also: if anyone wants me to purchase some Vietnamese art or something while I"m here it's not a problem. The prices are extremely low. We are currently at a fairly decent 3 star hotel with a swimming pool for $10 USD each... we figure it's awesome.