|Vietnam Page |
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August 2006 Vietnam / Laos trip
July 2005 Video clips
Current Vietnam Links
Events in April/May 1975 - Links
The fall of Saigon,Vietnam; Operation Babylift; and the Mayaquez Incident
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Even though the American Vietnam War is long over (April/May, 1975), it is still important for an American to see that country. The people seem to have a collective psyche - a hive characteristic if you will. To put one's feet on the ground there, puts a timbre to the prolific culture that up until that first day there I could only read about. It just seems to me important to feel the sun and rain on your face in a country we had such a tramatic war in.
This photo was taken on the coast of Vietnam in the town of Vung Tau. The hydrofoil boat is to the right. They run down the river every hour or so from Saigon. They are old but go quite fast. The Vietnamese seem to be able to keep anything running. It takes just over an hour to get to Vung Tau via the hydrofoil boats. Some of the last American troops left from Vung Tau at the end of the American Vietnam War. Photo by Heide Keith, July 2005.
Here is a couple of guys who took good care of me in Saigon. Teo is to the left and Ho to the right. If you find a couple of good scooter dudes, they are very protective of travelers they help out. If you treat them right they will make sure you don't get yourself into some kind of stupid mistakes in their neighborhood. Several million people packed in a town like Saigon can be rather intimidating to foreigners. Photo by Heide Keith, July 2005.
August 2006 Vietnam / Laos trip
Downtown Hanoi from a cafe balcony. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
The quieter streets of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
The consummate Vietnam urban street scene in Hanoi. Photo by Hiede Keith August 2006.
Bob and Heide on a patio over Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. August 2006.
The consummate sidewalk life in Vietnam. This photo is in Hanoi. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
This man enjoys the company of his small cat. A street in Hanoi. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
A view of Hue. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
Downtown Hue. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
Bob filming the war wreckage in the Citadel in Hue. It is one of the few places we found evidence left over from the American war in Vietnam. Much of the war damage in Vietnam has been rebuilt or carted off. At least in the areas we traveled. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
The massive Mekong River from a roof top in Savannahket, Laos. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
A Mekong River market in Savannahket, Laos. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
A pleasant shade from this restaurant patio in Mukdahan, Thailand. (Humid and 102 Degrees) Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
Naren is an interesting chap at the Pith Bakery in Mukdahan, Thailand. He is well traveled, speaks good English, and his pasteries are extrodinary. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
The rather newer looking streets of Hoi An, Vietnam. The city of cloth. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
Madam Thu and Hanh at the Phuong Huy (Happy Dragon) Cloth Shop in Hoi An. These ladies put together a set of clothes for Heide in one day. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
An oasis in the midst of the street vendors in the tourist neighborhood in Saigon. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
A typical street in Saigon - one of thousands of these steets that buzz all day and night. Photo by Heide Keith, August 2006.
As noted before in Bob's Blog, cats in Vietnam have an instinct for knowing their threshold of safety and often stay at the edge of doorways and patios. This smart little cat in Saigon is no exception to that tendancy. Photo by Bob Keith, August 2006.
This fellow's pork chops are to die for. I try to pass by his shop on Bui Vien Street every time I get to Saigon. Photo by Bob Keith, August 2006.
For periodic updates on Vietnam trips and other stuff click on the blog site below.
These are some books I feel have helped me sort out Vietnam. Some of these books speak to 'our' war there (note: me being an American, I always take ownership; some people get all bent out of shape if you use the terms 'we' and 'our' in the context of discussing Vietnam. I once had a college class mate who was not even born until the war was long over and he had a fit in a feature writing class when I did a news paper piece on some Vietnam War history and made reference to something regarding the war 'we' did. He said, " we, what's this we business? I didn't sign off on any war!" I said, "I hope not, you weren't even born yet.") Some of these books touch on the French war in Vietnam. Some of the books go back further. My favorites speak about the present Vietnam. (For all you perfectionists, accept my humble apologies for not being able to get my thrifty Web site to create hanging indents on the references. Hopefully gnashing of teeth and great academic consternation will be held to a bare minimum.)
Books that helped me prepare for my trips to present-day Vietnam are:
Dodd, J., & Lewis, M. (2003). Vietnam. New York: Rough Guides.
People have their favorite travel books to use in the field. This book got me there and back twice. I am still alive and my ego is as yet intact. I suggest using at least two travel books from two different companies. Between the two sources you will probably not die in challenging countries.
Issacs, A. R. (1997). Vietnam shadows: The war, its ghosts, and its legacy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Issacs analyzes some myths and misconceptions about the American Vietnam War some which include: missing in action inaccuracies; misunderstandings about veterans; and, often misquoted military statistics. The author also interviews some people who have immigrated from Vietnam to America.
Lamb, D. (2002). Vietnam now. New York: Public Affairs.
David Lamb's book is about his three tours in Vietnam as a reporter - two tours during the American Vietnam War and one 25 years later. This was by far one of the most helpful books to put things in some rhyme and reason.
Pham, A. X. (1999). Catfish and mandala. New York: Picador.
Andrew Pham's work is a memoir of his journey as a native Vietnamese who came to America at the age of nine during the exodus after the American Vietnam War. Then he returned to Vietnam years later in his 30s to bicycle the country. The book has a timbre of humor as well as angst as he now must navigate about the country, but as a heavily Americanized tourist in his own native land. This book was very helpful in the subtle nuances of the Vietnamese people while traveling about their country. I have noticed some academics wince at Pham's observations yet I also note most of the critics I've run into have not even been in the country. I like the book and still refer to its clever observations.
Ray, N., & Yanagigara, W. (2005). Vietnam: 8th edition. Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet.
This is the second travel book I used on both my trips and will use them both again on my third trip. What one misses the other will probably get. Again, people have their favorite travel books. Lonely Planet and Rough Guides have served me well.
Books that have helped me sort out the long American war in Vietnam are:
Dittmar, L., & Michaud, G. (Eds.). (1990). From Hanoi to Hollywood. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Faas, H., & Page, T. (Eds.). (1997). Requiem: By the photographers who died in Vietnam and Indochina. New York: Random House.
Karnow, S. (1983). Vietnam: A history. New York: Penguin Group.
Larry Burrows: Vietnam. (2002). New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publishing.
Mooney, J. W., & West, T. R. (Eds.). (1994). Vietnam: A history and Anthology. St. James, New York: Brandywine Press.
Moss, G. D. (1990). Vietnam: An American ordeal. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hill.
O'Brien, T. (1990). The things they carried. New York: Penguin Books.
Olson, J. S., & Roberts, R. (1999). Where the domino fell: America and Vietnam, 1945-1995. St. James, New York: Brandywine Press.
Young, M. B. (1991). The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. New York: Harper Perennial Publishers.
(It may take over one minute to load these short videos depending on your system)
First impressions of Saigon in January, 2005 - Street Scene
East side of Saigon looking past the river to downtown, January, 2005
Heide steps into Saigon from Tan Son Nhat Airport, August 2005
The above video of Heide entering the hot midnight air of Saigon from the airport foyer and stepping into all the waiting people is something that seems to stun some Americans. The crowd of people wait all hours of the day and night for loved ones who are returning to Vietnam from the four courners of the Earth. In retrospect the crowd is not so big. But I think Amercians are a little nervous to step into Vietnam for the first time because of our long war there. Then after a long flight, one must exit into a sea of waiting possible former enemies. The look on Heide's face says it all.
Current Vietnam Links
U.S. Navy visits Vietnam
Two U.S Navy ships dock in Saigon
U.S. Delegation travels to Vietnam
Vietnamese Leader visits White House
Bill Gates visits Vietnam
Rumsfeld in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia