This is my 12 visit to Vietnam
My current mission in Vietnam is going to the home villages of all my neices and nephews that have helped me in Vietnam
In 2005 I biked from Hanoi to Saigon. Probably the greatest trip I ever experienced.
I look forward to returning to Vietnam and enjoying the people and land of Vietnam.
I will be staying with my former Rotary Exchange Student Trang and her husband Huan and daughter Sarah.
I keep a bike at Trang's house and will be biking around Saigon on short trips.
The cover photo is me biking the Red River Islands near Hanoi.
April 24th 2012
When I got to Vietnam, Trang informed me that she had several trips planned. One was to Nha Trang. I have been to Nha Trang several times and have never tired of the city. It is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam and has possibly the best municipal beach. Today, Danang has used about all of "China Beach" of TV fame, with almost continuous Casinos and mega resorts. Nha Trang has done the opposite. Its five-star beach is accessible about everywhere. In Nga Trang, you have the beach, strip park, road and then the hotels. All you have to do is rent a hotel, walk across the road, through a strip park and your at the beach. While at the beach, you can rent a chair and sit there all day, and peddlers will ... read more
March 22nd 2012
The first person to greet me at the airport was Trang, my former Rotary Exchange Student. The second was Huan, her husband who borrowed a car from a friend to pick me up at the airport. The third person to greet me was Sarah, their three-year-old daughter. When she saw me, she grasps each elbow in front of her and bowed saying: "Chau ong" (Hello Grandpa.), Then in perfect English: "Follow me." It seems little Sarah is somewhat bilingual. I was here three years ago when she was born. Her parents made it clear they were the smartest parents alive and had an answer for everything. What they didn't know, six thousand years of Vietnamese culture would help. For instance, the first nine weeks of her life little Sarah was bathed in Tea. A Vietnamese tradition ... read more
March 17th 2012
I'm off to Vietnam for the 10th, 11th or 12th time. I need to get out my old passports and see how many visa's I have bought. I don't know if you really need a reason to go to Vietnam. The food is good; the climate is good, and the people are just great. I feel at home in Vietnam, and the main reason for that is the people. My adventure started 12 March and my friend, Charles Sherman and I meandered through the midwest part of Kansas towards Wichita, my departure city. I like history, and Kansas is full of it. Charles is the curator of the Central States Scout Museum. If you are ever in Larned KS, I recommend a visit to the scout museum. The museum probably has the largest collections of scout ... read more
December 5th 2009
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu There is a book in the Kinsley Kansas library called The 20 Most Decisive Battles in World History, or it might be called The 20 Most Decisive Battles in Vietnam. I can’t remember which is true. Whatever is true, I am amazed that I was personally involved with two of these battles in my relative short military career. The two battles I was associated with were the 2nd Battle of Bau Bang in Operation Junction City and The Battle of Snoopy Nose in the early phase of Operation Coronado. All the battles were brutal, fierce, ferocious and decisive. Another battle talked about in the book includes all of these things and was truly decisive. That was the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The Setting: The Vietnamese are no strangers to ... read more
November 30th 2009
Northwest Vietnam I was interested in the scenery and feel of Northwest Vietnam. Initially, I had planned to tackle the Northwest with a rented motorbike. The cost of that seemed too high, so I went with the cheapest option-public bus. Public bus can be kind of fun in Vietnam, squeezed in a vehicle that is always overloaded, sometimes someone sitting on your lap, there develops a comradeship among the passengers. If you have anything to eat, you share. It won’t be very neighborly just sitting there eating and not sharing with these close neighbors. My ride from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu started out all right, I actually had a full seat, but, it soon went down hill. I was in an oversized van, in the front passenger seat which holds three people, with a man, ... read more
November 27th 2009
Sapa Of the mountain areas of Vietnam, Sapa is probably the most popular. Originally, a French Hill Station developed in 1922, coined the “Tonkinese Alps,” Sapa is surrounded by the Hoang Lien Mountains. One such mountain is Fansipan, which is almost as tall as Pikes Peak in Colorado USA. It is a popular three day trek which means it is one of those goals of mine I just have to scratch off the “to do” things in my life. I went at the wrong season in Sapa. I would have liked to have gone when more crops were growing. They only grow one crop of rice a year in Sapa, where as the farmers in the Red River Delta around Hanoi grow two crops and the farmers in the Rice Bowl of Vietnam-the-Mekong Delta grows four ... read more
November 25th 2009
Visiting Tay Ninh Province The three big reasons to visit Tay Ninh Province. Probably, the first on the list for most visitors is the Cu Chi tunnels. I visited those in 1992, which was before they were a big tourist draw. With Tom Mangold’s book The Tunnels of Cu Chi was published in 1986, the tunnels were known to the world. When Vietnam opened its doors to tourist people flocked to Tay Ninh to see them. I think I might have been in Tay Ninh Province one time during the war. I remember flying my Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Sydney Hazzard to a base of the 1st Infantry Division. After we landed Col Hazzard told me his meeting would last most of the day and why don’t you just go over to those barracks and get ... read more
November 24th 2009
Computer Training in Thuy Lam Hamlet I had two goals this trip, see the mountain areas of Vietnam and participate in library training in a local village and training with the National Library of Vietnam. This blog is about library training. In a country that claims a 95% literacy rate but just a few years ago was 95% illiterate, there is not a culture of reading books. A lot of the provincial libraries and university libraries are full of students but the small village libraries, in my opinion, are not proving their worth. What these small libraries need to do is develop programs to attract students and offer services the people need. For these reasons, I have developed the following suggestions for libraries. • ESL Training - Both English As A Second Language class and computer ... read more
November 19th 2009
Vung Tau and the Con Dao Islands If you are tired of the hot and sweaty HCMC and yearn for the beach, Vung Tau is the least expensive option. If you want to spend a little more money, Con Dao is a possible option. Going to the beach, dealing with the sand, salt water, never gets me too excited. Getting out of HCMC does. So, Trang and family rented a car and off to Vung Tau we went. Vung Tau is described as crowed, oil polluted beach. Not true, in my experience. You can see the off shore oil platforms from the beach and helicopters going overhead ferrying crews back and forth. The water was crystal clear the day I was there, good temperature and a pleasant experience. The highlight for the Tran and Nguyen families ... read more
October 24th 2009
Following the French Conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established religious services for the French colonialist in an abandoned Vietnamese pagoda. That was too small so they built a wooden church which was damaged by termites. In August 1876, the Governor of Cochinchina M. Duperré held a design contest for a new cathedral. Apart from creating a religious building for the Catholics, the cathedral, by some opinion, was also aimed at displaying Christianity and the greatness of French civilization. The design by architect J. Bourad defeated 17 others and was chosen by the contest organizers. J. Bourad's design was in a revised Roman style mixed with Gothic elements. The chosen design was considered the most beautiful one in the French colony at that time. J. Bourad was also the successful bidder so he ... read more