Sunday, January 1, 2012

For the Times They Are a Changing

by Pa Rock

We are safely back on Okinawa after having spent a day in the air flying from Hanoi to Taipei to Naha.  Okinawa appears unbelievably tame after spending eight days in Vietnam.  I used to think the traffic here on Highway 58 was intimidating, but no more.  After experiencing Saigon and Hanoi, our little four-lane main highway is a cakewalk!

Eight days was the perfect amount of time to experience Vietnam.  It is a crazy quilt of busy streets packed with motorbikes, bicycles, cars, tourists, animals, and street peddlers who conduct small business at its most basic level.  Murphy commented on the ride home tonight that we really didn't encounter any vestiges of communism on our trip.  The country is so capitalistic that the shops in the Hanoi International Airport were happy to accept dollars!

Neither LBJ nor Uncle Ho could have predicted the Vietnam that we experienced on our trip.  It is as though all of the ideology that made the past century so bloody just quietly faded away and people decided to get along.  Vietnam has rid itself of its colonial masters and is now free to determine its own national identity and future.  It may not be exactly the future that Ho Chi Minh envisioned, but it is a struggling nation that is finally able to invest its resources, talents, and labor in its own people - and therein lies a better future.

It makes one think that wars are fought solely to benefit arms merchants and ego maniacs.  

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