Blog Entry #40: Vietnam: Past, Present, and Future
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Of all our destinations during this voyage around the world, perhaps no country did I approach with more ambivalence than Vietnam. I cannot remember a time during my childhood when the Vietnam War (known here as the American War) was not raging, and I grew up assuming that I would have to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam. Yet I also knew that Vietnam is in the midst of an “economic miracle” matched by few other places in the global economy, growing at nearly 10% a year, and transforming places like Ho Chi Minh City – formerly Saigon – into bustling, growing metropolises.
|Our first view of Ho Chi Minh City: The growing skyline over fields and boats along the Saigon River|
|Street scene, Ho Chi Minh City|
|US Helicopter outside War Remnants Museum|
In the days prior to our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, we had heard the stories and memories from several of our colleagues on the ship who were Vietnam War Veterans. Listening to their stories brought back many emotional memories for those of that from that era – memories we had not thought consciously of for many years.
|War Protest Photos in War Remnants Museum|
|SAS students with students from the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of 350.org|
|Thiet, leader of HCMC 350.org group & graduate student|
|Dan talking to the Vietnam 350.org students|
|Banner welcoming us to Nong Lam University|
I won’t reproduce their talks here, which were detailed, fascinating, and sobering – suffice it to say that Vietnam is predicted to be one of the world’s five most affected nations by climate change, both in terms of critical weather patterns, and by rising sea levels. Much of the Mekong Delta that makes up most of southern Vietnam is only 1-2 meters above sea level, and already rising levels are affecting this.
|Dan & Pat with Research Scientists on Climate Change at Nong Lam University|
|With Huong at Tea Ceremony|
|Traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony|
|Statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of People's Committee Buildng|
|Ho Chi Minh City at night|