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April 26, 2006 – A journey to Laos-Vietnam Border Crossing, Vietnam in Asia

Good Morning Viet Nam!

Said goodbyes to the Lao Loum village and bussed across the border into Viet Nam. Started in the mountains on the Ho Chih Minh trail, which changed to little towns and rice paddy fields and farmland.

My first impression of Viet Nam was that of a beautiful, very green country. Passed an unbelievable amount of endless rice paddy fields and farmland. Somehow, it reminded me a bit of my childhood growing up in San Jose, California. A number of Vietnamese immigrated there back then. There also used to be quite a bit of farmland before the high-tech industry took over. I remember also the sprouting number of Vietnamese pho noodle soup restaurants and shops.

a woman wearing a conical hat biking with endless green rice paddy fields in the background

Viet Nam is a communist country and you can see the political presence far more so, I personally think, than in China now. Their nation's flag, red with a yellow star in the middle, is literally flown from almost every house, shop, restaurant, building, and street. You can see a sea of red with yellow star flags going down the road. Communist billboards are everywhere, too. Haven't heard any western music or seen any western television yet (which is funny, since I did hear the Black-eyed Peas song, "My Humps," and watched CNN in Vientane). Maybe it's because it's north Viet Nam and that the capital, Hanoi, is also within close proximity. South Viet Nam could be different.

how many red flags can you spot?

The architecture in Viet Nam is quite different, almost a vast change from the architecture in Lao. The new style farmhouses look narrow and modern, and most are three stories tall. This is quite different from the farmhouses in Lao, which are on stilts and made of wood, straw, bamboo, etc. Wats have disappeared from the landscape. Did see a church or two, but not yet a temple of any sort. Small burial patches/tombs can be seen in the middle of rice fields though.

a typical modern farmhouse by the rice paddy fields

tombs on a hill surrounded by rice paddy fields

Crossing into Viet Nam from sleepy, peaceful Lao was rather surreal, as this was a war-stricken country just only 30-40 years ago.

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