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19. November 2008

I’d heard a lot of great things about travelling to Vietnam, but I must be in a different place to everyone, including my parents, who adore it here.

It’s hard to put into kind words, but this place makes me feel all kinds of bad. It’s as if everything here is designed to cater to someone’s idea of this place.
Vietnam has a rich history of being oppressed by or attacked from one group or another, and now commercialism causes people to sell their identity and history piecemeal.

This is a poor country, with everything that implies, from the ridiculously low prices for everything (if you’re a tourist) to the ‘quaintness’ of their everyday lives. We paid entry to see this zoo, and now we snap pictures of how different, how oriental these people are. I hear comments in the street about the prettiness of the women, the niceness of the dresses (“So much nicer than in ‘insert-other-Asian-country’.”), the fun factor of the millions (about 4 million, if you’re counting) of motor scooters clogging the narow streets and the authenticity of food and drink.

But what are we really looking at here? Is capitalism laughing in the face of yet another failed communist/socialist country? Can we buy them for a dollar or two? Or are we helping them by helping to make Vietnam the secost fastest advancing Asian nation, right after China?

I don’t have an answer, but in the meantime, don’t expect me to return with a straw hat and long flapping dress.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Monique Wood permalink
    19. November 2008 8:31 pm

    It’s funny, my parents are talking to a group of friends about going to Vietnam. You make some interesting observations, Kiki.

  2. dianecurran permalink
    19. November 2008 9:10 pm

    I think visiting another country is as subjective as reading a book, and two different people on the same journey or tour will get different things out of it.

    I love Egypt and would go back there in an instant, despite the dust, the dirt, the heat and the very annoying Arab men who swarm around you like flies. One of my friends at work has just returned from Egypt, and said she will never go back.

    I would never go back to Suva – really disliked the city, but would definitely go back to Vanuatu.

    I hope your stay in Vietnam is not too long and distressing for you.

    How’s the writing going?

  3. dianecurran permalink
    23. November 2008 6:13 pm

    Hi Kiki,

    I have nominated you for an ‘I love your blog award’.

    After receiving the award, if you’d like to participate, you must:
    1) Add the logo of your award to your blog.
    2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
    3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
    4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
    5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

    you can pick up the logo on my blog at

    Thanks for the great read!

  4. Monique Wood permalink
    2. December 2008 10:44 am

    Diane – I agree with your comment about Vanuatu. I thought Suva was terrible, but our hotel was nice. I don’t think I’d go back in a hurry…

    Kiki – my parents booked their trip to Vietnam. They’re flying out next April…

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