Experiences in Vietnam ­ Blog ­ Susan Steggall

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Experiences in Vietnam

John and I recently made a brief visit to Vietnam on our way home from France. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience – not only pleasurable excursions to the old town of Hoi An with its Hoi An Historic Hotel (a gracious building set in cool green gardens with huge old trees) and sunset over the beautiful World-Heritage listed Ha Long Bay, but also challenging visits to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi tunnels and Hanoi’s infamous Hoa La Prison, ‘the Hanoi Hilton’. It was a steep learning curve in a history written by the victors, not from the West this time. In my short time there I gained enormous respect for the resilience, tenacity and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people.


Yesterday I attended the Creative Non-Fiction Festival at the NSW Writers’ Centre, Rozelle. It was a great day: entertaining and informative with many well-known journalists sharing their stories. I particularly enjoyed Walter Mason talking about his book Destination Saigon: Adventures in Vietnam. Like Walter I was also entranced by ‘the crazy heat and colour of Saigon’ (not to mention the traffic!) and ‘the [only slightly] quieter splendour of Hanoi’ with its grand, solid, French colonial buildings.

We’ve been home for three weeks now and I’ve been meaning to put something on Facebook about our week in Vietnam but images and ideas crowded in and left me procrastinating. It took yesterday’s festival to stir me into action!

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