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Pack Light Walk Slow Calvin: "It's a magical world out there Hobbes, ol' buddy.

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Major Change of Plans

VIETNAM | Saturday, 7 January 2006 | Views [1006]

So I didn't make it to Halong City.  Don't worry, nothing bad
happened.  I was on the bus from Thai Nguyen on my way out of town
when I got this bad feeling that something wasn't quite right.  I've
had the feeling before, and nothing good ever comes from it if I don't
listen, so I've learned to heed the warnings.  So I made them stop the
bus and I got off!  Hiked it back to the bus station, hopped a crowded
bus (and by crowded I mean people were sitting on each other's laps -
mine included!) to
Hanoi, then hopped a night train to Hue
, and here I
am.  I'm not really sure yet if I made the right decision though
because it's raining cats and dogs here...and I have a cold.  I'm
overdue for the cold (my little cousin had one at Christmas that I
miraculously didn't catch, and then the girl I stayed with in

had one too) so that doesn't help much either.

The day wasn't a total waste though.  I bought a poncho for 17000 dong
(about $1.10) and tramped around in the wet with a homeless guy who
showed me the tourist market and told me about how he lives.  Hung is
his name, and he came to
Hue from Hanoi
when he was 9 years old (I
don't know exactly how...whether he was a runaway or what.  He
couldn't understand my question I guess - or was avoiding it.  And why
he would come to
Hue from Hanoi
is beyond me...usually people run TO Hanoi b/c there are more jobs and the police are more lenient).  He
doesn't have an ID card, so he can't get a decent job here.  He sleeps
in an alley, or in someone else's cyclo, and he says the police are
always coming to harass him and threaten to arrest him.  He says that
if he is arrested, the police will beat him.  He can't go back to his
family in
- firstly because he doesn't have the money to get
back (about 300,000 dong - about $20), and because his family are
farmers anyway so they don't make any money either.

When talking to people like Hung, it's always hard to know what is the
truth, what comes from not understanding my questions, and what is
fiction.  However, through it all I can see that he doesn't live a
very good life, but he still is so friendly, always has a smile on his
face, and will practice his English with anyone who will listen.

Tags: culture, people, vietnam


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