Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Places to go - People to see

My travel partner had to be in Singapore for work and asked her colleagues where we should head for a three day weekend. One of the locals suggested we head to Hoi An, Viet Nam, so off we went. From home we did the paperwork for visa on arrival, obtaining a letter of invitation from our hotel.  Travel note: visa on arrival is a better strategy when you don’t have a connecting flight to catch. We ran through the Ho Chi Min airport to catch our flight to Da Nang because a ninety minute layover was a bit tight for the elegant hand completed visa.

 Our weekend in Viet Nam was cool and rainy. We enjoyed strolling through historic Hoi An.  There are few cars and many motorbikes. The opening up into free markets has created lots of motorbike related entrepreneurs.

We were knocked out by My Son. It was misty and mysterious. According to Lonely Planet we bombed it destroying some of the largest temple ruins, until the French complained to Nixon. Another sign of the war was a newspaper story about a woman, infertile from Agent Orange, caring for children with deformities caused by Agent Orange. So I had to face it, and it was disconcerting. 

In a weekend I didn't glean the state of things. Current political conversations were fun. Living appears to be very basic. There weren't any Coca Cola signs in the villages we saw, and there's that "lack of development is quaint" ambivalence.  The food is terrific and was a highlight. Fresh greens in everything. It is somehow light and rich at the same time.


We came home for two days, headed to Miami for work and then up to Naples to visit our niece and family. I got the “slice of life” I was hoping for with wonderful kids age five, seven and nine. This is the moment I was seeking, complete with a Hannah Montana ornament.

When people asked me why I was retiring I sometimes answered  “places to go and people to see”. So far, so good.

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