Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Greetings From Hue

Being in Vietnam has been quite surreal. On the one hand some things seem so familiar, bun bo Hue, banh loc and banh beo are all staples of my childhood and Hue origins. While other things are bizarre and unfamiliar such as the stark contrast between rich and poor, the under-served and privileged. The difference that I’ve noticed in Vietnam, unlike in more Western countries, is that the rich and poor are not isolated in separate enclaves but rather they intermingle amongst each other throughout the city. The suburbs are nonexistent; five story mansions stand erect next to tin shacks. The disparities are much more visible here than in the US.

However, the lack of Western influences allows for a level of purity in Hue that is quite refreshing. This particular region has less western influences than bigger metropolises such as Saigon, Ha Noi or Da Nang and thus, there is a level of pristine-ness to the area that I think is special to my experience. Being less distracted by modern technology allows me to connect more with the people and environment around me, such as meeting with friends for cafe sua da or che on the sidewalk. It is the simplicity of things that I find beautiful.

- Nathalie

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