Vietnam 94 - Photos by Sue and Tony
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Our Vietnam photographs were taken during a 3 week visit in 1994. We traveled on a tour with a group of ten Canadians and an American. We had travelled with this adventure tour company before and were asked to be guinea pigs on an exploratory tour prior to adding the destination to their list of tour options. Transportation was by mini-bus from Saigon to Hue and then by rail aboard the "re-unification express" to Hanoi. We stayed in middle range (low by Western standards) hotels and guest houses. Accommodation wasn't great, booked rooms were not available upon arrival and everywhere was heavily monitored by the government . Even our rail sleeper carriages were not as booked. Vietnam wasn't yet ready for the vanguard of tourists who were beginning to land on their shores. Hence the exploratory shake down tour.
This aside our overall impression was of incredibly warm and friendly people, perhaps a bit more reserved in the North but they still make you feel very welcome. Rather naively we expected to find some resentment due to the war which ended in 1975. Nothing could be further from the truth, the people could not get enough information about the West, America in particular. In Dalat, the American in our group gave a talk to a geography class at the invitation of a high school teacher. Children, the length of the country, all with 'a little' English were a constant delight.
Another impression was of a very industrious people. Every one was working at something even though they may not be making much money. Nothing was wasted, reuse and recycle could have been invented in post war Vietnam. There were few beggars. With the money and education of returning ex-patriots from the USA and elsewhere, Vietnam could be the next South Korea.
Beyond control was the dreadful weather, with very few bright sunny days and the latter two weeks of constant rain. The other disappointment was the food, which varied from acceptable to inedible. Part of the reason was the constant company of our Vietnam Tourism guide he was required to take us to the state run restaurants which were terrible. The private places were not much better and the French restaurants in Hanoi were especially disappointing as we had higher expectations there. Things have improved rapidly since 1994 and the wonderful cuisine is a great reason to include Vietnam in a SEA itinerary.
Photographically it was a rewarding trip. I can't help wishing for the flexibility of modern digital cameras and not having to rely on the film we brought from home. This is how Vietnam looked in March 1994 and we hope you enjoy the images.
Would we go again? Absolutely yes.
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