Good Morning Vietnam
As always, in Vietnam I go to sleep early and wake up 4:30 A.M. as I do at home. After cleaning up and getting dressed I walk out the front door of my hotel.
It is very dark. In the distance I hear the sound of the small motors on the boats in the Perfume River. All else is quiet.
I head for the bridge that crosses the river. As I walk across there are a few people who pass me. They are surprised to see a tourist at this time of day. I give them a cheerful "Hello".
Below me a few small boats pass in the dark. At the other side of the bridge I look down at the market. There are many Vietnamese in their conical hats. There are many little lights and the buying and selling has gone on for some time.
It is a scene in this country that has gone on for hundreds of years. I would like to go down there to watch the bargaining, but I can't. If a foreigner walked thru at this time of day, some people would think it a bad omen and business would be bad this day.
The sky at last starts to get lighter and traffic starts to flow. Cyclo's that will later carry people now pass by full of all kinds of goods.
Crossing back over the bridge I can see the people in the park next to the bridge. It is time to exercise. Young and old are moving to and fro.
As I approach the hotel rush hour has started and I have witnessed the birth of a new day in Vietnam. A day like so many in the past. But things are changing and the future will hold much different days. For now this is one of the most important moments of my trip.
Back home I still hear the boats passing on some mornings.
Published on 10/31/02