Shiny, happy people laughing…
In the weeks since we’ve returned from Vietnam, many readers have asked us how the people of Vietnam really feel about Americans, especially U.S. veterans.
Obviously, we didn’t understand what people were saying when they were speaking Vietnamese, and maybe we’re naive, but it certainly seemed we were quite warmly welcomed everywhere we went, even at a former Viet Cong guerilla’s restaurant and an orphanage where children have disabilities linked to Agent Orange exposure and other remnants of the Vietnam War.
It was fairly obvious that my father was an “American War” veteran, given his age and the fact that people either asked outright or he told them in response to the frequent question of “have you been to my country before?” But still, everyone had a big smile and a peace sign – a frequent greeting gesture, though perhaps just to Americans! – for us.
Here are some lovely ladies my father wanted a photograph with while we were waiting to get into part of the Cu Chi tourist complex. (By the way, our guide told us the girls were giggling infectiously because it’s considered very odd to have three people posed like this – maybe it’s an unlucky number, or just uneven? Can anyone out there in the blogosphere explain this?)
So, the people on the street definitely seemed to feel very good about Americans. As for the feelings we got about being Americans … a bit of a different story. Check back later for more on that.