Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wake up call Vietnamese style

While staying in Hanoi in a one hundred-year-old French hotel with beds and plumbing to match, I didn’t need an alarm clock for my early morning wake up calls. Every
morning like clockwork, the hotel workers would gather on the second story courtyard balcony below my window to perform their early daily exercises. Like clockwork, seven days a week at 6:00 A.M. I was rousted out of bed. During my two-week stay what I found was two countries, one, a bureaucratic nightmare where the left hand rarely seemed to know what the right hand was doing. A country that has lived with war for thousands of years, but now in the past ten years, only has started to show the outward signs of venturing into what the Western economy has to offer.

But there is another Vietnam. A land of people whose faces read like maps marking the road of sacrifice they have traveled; a land of people who aren’t so very different from those found throughout the world.