30 Day Challenge: Day 5

Day 5 is a picture of somewhere you have been.

Well.

In December 2008-January 2008 I traveled to Vietnam. I loved the experience. I remember being very apprehensive when we departed. I had the flu. And I was trying to hide it. I was nervous they would quarantine me or something.

Turns out I just annoyed everyone on the plane with my hacking. Until I reached Japan. They detained me. Took my temperature. Spoke Japanese. Freaked me out. And unleashed me to go on the next flight, my last leg to Vietnam.

I spent 3 weeks going from Ho Chi Minh City all the way up to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. I loved all of it. The people, the culture, the history, the spiritual sites, the good, the bad and the sad.

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This was a shot I took in downtown Hanoi. It captured the city perfectly. Look at the trees and the power lines. The shops. The chaos. This city up north was choked off from all the advancement that happened in the south. It still looks like a step back in the past.

I know it said one picture but… whatever

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When I was 16 I went to Europe. I went to Mauthausen concentration camp. It was an experience that I cannot describe. You literally have to do it yourself to under stand the gravity of where you are standing. In Vietnam I visited the site of the My Lai Massacre. The scale of death was smaller. But that isn’t the point. Standing on the ground that these people were murdered on, by my people was incredible. I felt so drained. So heavy. On March 16th in 1968 Charlie Company murdered around (more) 500 Vietnamese citizens. 400 at My Lai, the rest in nearby villages. This was a covered up war crime. US soldiers butchered innocent women, children, the elderly. This ditch in the photo is where they lined up and shot 1 year old babies, 80 year old women. I can’t fathom how those soldiers lived with them selves. War. It’s not good for anyone. I met Ha Thi Quy, one of the very few survivors. Her story was soul crushing. She laid in the ditch under her family. They sprayed bullets into the bodies in the ditch and she was shot, in her backside. She tells her story there, and holds your hand so tight. I gave her the cash in my pocket. It was the only “Sorry” I could muster in that moment.

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I did go to some amazing temples. Marble Mountain was amazing. I went on a creepy secret tour to see “Sleeping Buddha” and got attacked by bats in a cave. I fell in love with the Buddhists. I feel in love with the architecture.

I could share more photos. But ya know. It gets old. But Vietnam. Go there if you can. Talk to the people. Listen to their stories. Learn from them. The country is beautiful. The cultural is exploding. I cannot explain it but I came home after those three weeks humbled and refreshed.

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