You know even today Vietnam is still inextricably entwined with the ‘war’ almost 40 years on. Of course its just an opinion & I have only been once but my feeling after a few days in Vietnam is that that Allies were never going to win because of one overwhelming factor. Time. Timepoor populations of timepoor countries watching atrocity in their loungerooms have very little…
No I don’t mean you, I mean the great patience & the laissez-faire attitude of Vietnam’s beautiful people were key to victory then & to your enjoyment now. You see it in their faces.
A stall holder setting up at 5am knowing they are to finish at 6 or 7pm or maybe a lone figure flowing across a tide of traffic that seems to foreign eyes so chaotic & out-of-control but is actually the complete opposite to the locals. Measured & expected. In Vietnam a car or motorcycle horn toot isn’t anger it’s genuine helpfulness. ‘Just letting you know I don’t wish to deposit myself, my scooter & this cargo of chickens into your bottom. Just saying Toot, toot’
Saigon has eight million inhabitants & six million scooters, give or take. In most Western countries (certainly where I’m from) that would also be accompanied by four million daily roadrage incidents. Not in Vietnam. I only heard one ambulance in five days! Ironically however as it raced to attend an accident I was certain it was about to cause another seven on the way. Of course it didn’t, it just works. Tolerance.
I have never seen such contentment, patience & humility in potentially very stressful situations. It’s very humbling & I would love to capture its essence & apply it back in my world. But I wont. I’ll still mutter at the bloke who takes 1 second too long to swipe his train ticket or tisk if there’s a queue to get a beer at the airport lounge. Yes ill go straight back to my first world problems.
From my brief glimpse of this beautiful country my greatest takeout is that in a place of such seeming rush & chaos I can’t actually remember ever feeling less of either.