I’m a God fearing red-blooded American and I have to travel 10,000 miles to a communist country for an opportunity to get a glimpse at my president. If you don’t know already, George Bush and Bill Clinton took turns visiting Hanoi during my stay here. In fact, I believe Bill Clinton is still in Hanoi and staying at the Hilton, which is an easy walk from my house here. George’s arrival was known months in advance, while Bill’s arrived virtually unannounced.
What I find interesting is the difference coverage of the President by the media here and back home. It was a huge event for Bush to arrive in Hanoi. People and the press here were talking about it well before my own arrival. The coverage was so big that information about leaders from Russia, Japan and China were snubbed. On the other hand, just about every news story I read in America about Bush’s visit here was pretty harsh. It was interesting to see how another country shows more respect for our president than us Americans do.
Clinton’s arrival was a big surprise to everyone, and he received just as big of a reception as Bush. Clinton has some liberties now that he’s not president, such as relaxed security that allows him to mingle in the crowd. He walked around Hoan Kiem Lake and through the old quarter with crowds of Vietnamese surrounding him.