This post is in response to this article in the L.A. Times:
I would like to address the protesters cringing into your city in an attempt to tell your city leaders and residents what to do. Being and American-Vietnamese (note that I’m always an AMERICAN first), having deep family ties in Vietnam and visiting Vietnam numerous times, I can certainly testify first hand about the so called suffering of the Vietnameses at the hands of their communist controlled government.
Putting it bluntly, that’s a bunch of BULLSHIT… Vietnam today is clearly not the same Vietnam shortly after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Vietnamese have more freedom now than they’ve had in two generations and that freedom will continue to grow as their market economy continues to grow and prosper. Furthermore, Vietnam is experiencing their greatest economic prosperity EVER IN THEIR HISTORY be it communist, democratic or otherwise…
Vietnam’s current central controlled government is a far cry from the Stalinist oligarchy of their past. There’s open elections for Vietnamese city officials much like councilpersons are elected to Riverside or other cities in America. To become a political prisoner in Vietnam today, you almost have to punch a cop in their face while yelling “Down with Communists…” Even so, you might be in jail for less than a week or as soon as you pay off the cop for punching him.
What’s most important to understand is why this organization is protesting in your city. The vast majority of those involved with Federation of Vietnamese Communities and similar organizations are old farts who are still holding a grudge after over 30 years and refuse to believe that their enemies are literally dead or dying. They are a miniscule small portion of the Vietnamese-American community who mastered bringing attention to themselves with the perception that all Vietnamese think and believe as they do when in fact it’s the exact opposite. It’s a personal embarrassment whenever I see these groups continue spewing their ignorance and hatred.
Furthermore, it is YOUR community and NOT THEIRS. Make up your own mind on whether or not you want to establish a relationship with Can Tho, but please don’t these outsiders dictate what you should do in your city.
A must see while in Hanoi is the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. This is a water puppet show that has roots dating back hundreds and possibly thousands of years. This world renowned and internationally awarded show is in the heart of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District. The video was taken when the family watched a show during our trip in 2013:
Over the years of visiting Hanoi, I have watched The French Quarter transform from a rather uninteresting place to a very posh location that is a must see when in Hanoi. High ticket shopping, such as Gucci, Bass and other stores are located here. Some excellent coffee shops and restaurants also encircle the Hanoi Opera House, which is the center of this area.
The video covers my wife and I visiting the French Quarter during our trip in 2013:
One thing that seemingly everyone who stays in Hanoi long enough will encounter is what a friend of mine refers to as the “Hanoi Cough.” This is a real bad cough that is a result of breathing the smog infested air of Hanoi. This cough could be merely a scratchy throat to full blown bronchitis (which is what happened to me during the 2013 trip to Hanoi).
This video is of me describing what happened and how I’m getting past the Hanoi cough:
Something we take for granted in more developed countries is electricity. Rarely do we have have power outages (unless we forget to pay the bill). However, this is a common in Vietnam and especially Hanoi. This short video is how my family dealt with a power outage during our trip:
This video depicts my wife and I enjoying a visit to Hoan Kiem Lake and having lunch at City View Cafe, which neither of us have ever done before. A very pleasant time and is now an everlasting memory thanks to this video. Enjoy!
I’ve been to countless circuses in the U.S. and didn’t expect this to be much different. I was half right and pleasantly surprised too. The talent here was very impressive and especially the gymnastics related exhibits. We happened to be there for World Circus Day whereas it is the beginning of a tour for the Vietnam Circus Foundation which they will perform in other parts of Vietnam and in other countries. the talent was top notch.
Here’s a video that digests about 2 1/2 hours of circus down to about 15 minutes.
A couple days after arriving in Hanoi, we took a short trip to Thai Binh as part of the Tet festivities whereas we honor and celebrate our ancestors. Both my wife and I have family and ancestry roots in Thai Binh, but in different parts of the province.
Where Ha’s family is located was quite a feat of travel. It literally took longer to get from Thai Binh City to the village where Ha’s family is located than it took to travel from Hanoi to Thai Binh. Some of the roads were very narrow and almost inaccessible by the mini-bus which Ha’s brother, Nam, rented for our travels. We arrives nonetheless, and I made the following video to capture the moment:
We’re finally underway for the trip to Hanoi that was supposed to start in January. It’s two weeks into the trip so far, and we’ve already had ourselves some adventures as well as setting up for some exciting times ahead. In the meantime, I wanted to give everyone who cares a quick glimpse of our travel so far.
Here’s a video of our flight from LAX to Hanoi via Taipei. The entire flight and connections is about 20 hours total, but you get to enjoy it all in about four minutes. Enjoy! ~ Dan