More on Vietnam

More on Vietnam

I traveled down the Mekong River going south towards Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.  The north Vietnamese call it Ho Chi Minh City and the south Vietnamese refer to it as Saigon but only when they are in safe company.  I met a youngish man from southern Vietnam.  He had a story to tell.  His father was a college professor in south Vietnam.  Some of his uncles and cousins fought on the side of the north Vietnamese and some fought for the south.  After the war, his father was imprisoned and he and his mother and young siblings were sent to a relocation camp near the Thailand border.  There they were fed and educated.  He owed his job to the United Nations who taught him English.  He currently works for a tour guide service.  He said that when he wanted to get married, he had to fill out forms tracing his family back three generations.  When it was revealed that he had ties to south Vietnam, the marriage license was delayed and only with a $10 bribe did he obtain the license to marry.  He cannot travel out of Vietnam but hopes someday to visit the United States. He said that all the best opportunity is available only for Vietnamese who had strong family ties to the north.  Families live together in tall narrow homes with the oldest on the ground floor.  As the children grow up and marry, floors are added to the home.  Salaries are converted to gold and kept in the homes.  They do not deposit money in the banks.  I never encountered any animosity toward the Americans.