A place for reflection and introspection, communication and thoughtful conversation.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
OFF TO VIETNAM!
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” - Aldous Huxley
Well, tomorrow morning we are leaving for a holiday. It will only be a very short one, but it turned out very well considering how quickly it was arranged. That’s one of the wonderful thing about the internet, one may browse through airline sites, hotel sites, arrange tickets, stays, look for package deals, take advantage of specials, and all that in one afternoon, in time for departure the next day! So, it was all arranged, we are going to Vietnam, to visit Hanoi! We are leaving tomorrow morning and coming back early next week.
It worked out cheaper than going North and staying in Cairns or Townsville or Broome. It’s quite sad when one can arrange an overseas holiday and spend much less than one would locally. I suppose there are many factors involving the exchange rate and cost of living, but there it is. We’ve never been to Vietnam before, but we have both heard good reviews from intrepid travellers who have been and came back with the best impressions.
Most people think of the war if one mentions Vietnam, especially people in our age group. And sure enough, there are many conflicts in its long history. However, the country has moved forward with the times and progress soon overcomes obstacles put in its way by painful history.
Vietnam was part of French Indochina and only gained its independence in 1954. Decades of internal discord, civil war mixed with external interference and tragic armed conflicts have hampered its development. The country has an area of 330,000 square km and a population of about 83 million people. It stretches along the South China Sea down a mountainous backbone and encompasses two river deltas: The Song Hong in the North and the Mekong to the South. Rice, coffee and rubber are the main crops with reserves of coal, anthracite, lignite, tin, iron ore and extensive rainforests beginning to be developed. The climate is monsoonal with moderate rainfall. The capital city is Hanoi with other major cities including Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hué, Rach Gia, Nha Trang and Haiphong.
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
I sometimes get the impression that I am on a soapbox delivering a monologue, so your comments are welcome.