Thursday, 3 September 2009

Independence Day, Vietnam Week 9

Dear Ethel, Family and friends,

Today is an important day in Vietnam’s history and a Public Holiday celebrating the Independence of Vietnam. Although this day in 1945 celebrates the day that Ho Chi Minh pronounced Independence for Vietnam from outside influences, namely Japan and French Colonialists, however it was a long time until Vietnam was finally able to govern itself. After the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Independence, but had to fight the French in the Indochina War from 1946 to 1949. Vietnam was then partitioned into the north and the South. The French eventually withdrew from Vietnam only to be replaced by the Americans. The Vietnam War lasted from 1959 until 1975. The US sent combat troops in 1965.Vietnam has only been Reunified since 1976 after the Defeat of the American and Allied troops. It’s been a long road for the Vietnamese people and they are a strong and proud Country.

Having said that, after doing my research we went to look for of some marching bands, flag waving and some other patriotic stuff. We were disappointed to find out that all that type of activity occurs in the North in Hanoi. In the South they prefer to eat out, visit family or go to the Independence Day Sales! Never seen so many people outside the Co-Op Supermarket before. Well such is life.

Instead, we went on the Saigon River Boat, a Buffet lunch and a cruise along some of the more palatable reaches of the Saigon River. We were having lunch after all. To our surprise, we were the only foreigners on the boat. I was a nicely overcast day with a light Typhonic wind to keep the temperature down. There was plenty of food on the boat, but nobody knew that judging by the food frenzy that occurred when they announced the food was on. Being 6 foot tall in a country where most people are 4 foot tall has its advantages, you can lean over the first 3 rows of people without disturbing anyone, as I had to. The main disadvantage is that their elbows are at the most unfortunate height, well for me anyway. There was Karaoke and live performers to keep us entertained and all the staff were dressed in their finest Commodore’s uniforms. It was a great afternoon and at $10 each, was well worth it. Two adventurous girls sat at our table to practice their English, one was an English teacher who teaches children. They were great company and translated a lot of things for us.

All the best for now, until next time.
Ric & Louise