I like the picture.
It was off to Hanoi, and a typhoon in Halong Bay that delays my plans, the body of Ho Chi Minh, a tree that somehow relates to the Buddha, Ho Chi Minh’s ultra communist house J, a snake farm, rice whiskey, snakes blood, snake bile, and last but not least, a snake heart that was still beating that I drank with rice whiskey…..I always cheered for the bad guys (Cobra) in GI Joe….now I share something Cobra Commander…..mmmmwwwhhhhhhhahahahaha (evil laugh). Drunken foolery cause of the rice whiskey, a victory in an Olympics held at a cool hostel in Hanoi, bia hoi (draught beer on stools on the street), a good walk across the Long Bien bridge that we (USA) attempted to un-successfully destroy in the war, the opening ceremonies of the real Olympics with an international crowd J, and a ridiculous Halong Bay adventure with a fun international crew aboard a few junks, kayaking through caves to cool lagoons, polluted water due to the typhoon, more rice whiskey, lots of jellyfish, drunken save the world conversations, some real rock climbing J, some karaoking with my favorite song - Kool and the Gangs “celebration,” to which I left with the crowd chanting my name J��" always keeping it real! Skinny dipping in Halong Bay with phosphorescence, a flight back to Bangkok, a last taste of some pad thai for $1,a Thai foot massage, and 18 hours worth of flights later, a return to the Chi!
I ate something on the street of Hanoi ��" I will let your imagination figure out what it is.
If you want to find out, go the last Hanoi page on travbuddy, and you will see a picture of it.
Snake heart = mine!
The following is an email that I sent out to multiple travel agents concerning factories and globalization.
Dear Travel Agent,
I am a history teacher in the United States. As so many products that are sold in the USA and Western Europe are "Made in Vietnam," I am interested in getting to know about the lives of the factory workers in south east Asia through a tour. My classes often get into debates about whether or not these factories are good for Vietnam, and this is the only way that I know that I may be able to find some answers in order to further educate my classes…I was wondering if you could arrange something based upon the following ideas:
* a tour of a large industrial factory - Hopefully of a name brand like Nike, Adidas, Old Navy, Thermos, Spaulding, etc etc
* a tour of a neighborhood where many of the factory workers live
* a chance to talk to some of the factory workers about their living conditions and wages
Would you be able to help me out? The factory can either be in Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi cities… Please reply if you would be interested in conducting this tour.
Snake heart and rice whiskey, why not!
Sincerely ��" Me
I exchanged emails with a few agents. We discussed prices, locations, interpreters and drivers. However, nothing came through. Money talks, and I was offering a good amount to get the tour. We can all draw our own conclusions. My theory is that the factories and owners do not want people to see the “gerbils turning the wheels” with globalization.
South East Asia was cool, but I am not coming back. Being a traveling snob, it cant compare to past trips, as I am “numb,’ and stick out too much as a farang. It took a lot of the fun away. There are two things that never get old traveling: encountering new cultures and friends you meet on the road. If you can combine the two together with a local friend that obviously knows the culture, you have struck gold. So with that, let me send a shout out to all the great people I met in South East Asia: to the Spaniards, English, Scottish, Irish, Australian, German, American, Argentine, Thai, Japanese, French, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and of course the Dutch ��" Thank You ��" you keep me bright, young, and constantly make me think more and question my thoughts and the world.
Ridiculous games at a ridiculous hostel. Camera broke, so these are from someone elses.
Where to next? I do not know. Maybe I will retire for a few years. Kanye West wrote a song about summers in Chicago. Maybe I will go and just live in a city in Latin America for the entire summer. I am afraid to visit Africa because of that T.I.A. (This Is Africa) hopelessness thing. I still have interest in returning to Italy and Russia. China, Mongolia, Turkey, and the Phillipines interest me.
Supposedly the writing on the wall are phone numbers - they are verywhere.
I was in the airport of Hanoi, getting ready to fly back to Chicago via Bangkok. I got to the security check point, and the guard wanted to check my carry on bag. She opened it take a look, and, whew, out came a flush of air. The smell of weeks of tuk tuks, motos, bikes, bananas, miles of buses, markets, mud, DVDs, and of course, rain, rushed out and greeted her nostrils. EEEEWWWWW she said as she waved her hands to rid the odor. She didn’t even bother to look in the bag. I smiled and walked on, bye bye South East Asia, I am never coming back. That is what seven weeks “on the road” does.