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Friday, November 1: Day 193 – Beach, Baby!

A day to relax and reflect at the beach. We have seen so many scars from the war, but we have also experienced healing.

Today both sides have regrets. The Vietnamese had war imposed on them. American military sent here had war imposed on them. The 1960’s were a time in the military that soldiers didn’t question orders.

My dad, 95, asked if the Vietnamese displayed anger at us since we are Americans. We have experienced quite the opposite. I feel that their Buddhist way says that the way to Nirvana includes forgiveness. Followers of Christ also know that you can’t ever be happy if you don’t forgive.

Vietnam was occupied by the French, and during WWII both the French and Japanese were here.

In 1944-1945 there was a great famine in Vietnam, and up to two million people died. Japan took rice for their own people during the occupation of Vietnam.

Vietnam, I believe, just wanted to control their own country. They are a communist nation of one party, but the economy that we see feels capitalist.

Phạm Nhật Vượng, the richest man in Vietnam, has a net worth of 6.6 billion dollars…and it is a communist country.

I have a very modest one-piece swimsuit. It looks like one that is worn for swim team. As I look out from my beach chair, I notice that EVERYONE is swimming in their clothes. It looks very uncomfortable. There are no bikinis. I am sure that I stand out. It is ironic because in Spain everyone had a bikini and many were topless. I stood out there as well.

There are many groups of young people that are all dressed alike. We weren’t sure if these are gang colors, team outfits, or just a way to bond with their fellow travelers much like we would wear T-shirts.

This group was at a night market trying the cloudy ice cream. It is more like candy that has been put in dry ice.

When we got to the beach, we noticed that the sand was made into little pellets. Is this a fancy sand prep machine?

With much observation, we learned that little crabs were rolling the sand into little balls from the holes that they were digging. These are more spread out so it makes a beautiful random art object.

Sadly, their work disappears at high tide, and they will start again at low tide.

We saw several local couples casting nets for fish. It looked like a lot of work for a few fish.

To keep their catch fresh, the fish and crabs were put into a net bag and submerged in water.

There are lots of microphoned karaoke singers at all hours. We got used to hearing it. The neighbor next door sang for hours. I don’t blame him for practicing, but must he use a microphone?

I woke up around 5am and heard beautiful music coming from the balcony. I opened the door to discover that all the local roosters were performing songs of their own.

There is construction everywhere. This city must be growing rapidly. There is constant banging. Work continued amidst rebar and metal cranes even during a thunderstorm. They did not stop during the lightning.

We live on the 14th floor. The Vietnamese are superstitious so we noticed that there isn’t a 13th floor.

Don’t you think that those that live on 12A might just figure out that they are really living on the 13th floor?

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