Today, our group went to the beach. Yes, I said it. The beach. (We also went to the Jesus statue which I touch on at the end of this post.)
We started our day early in the morning at 6:00am. Our journey was filled with small breakfast bags with Vietnamese ham and a banana. The food was not what made the ride special. It was the area of Vietnam that we saw on the way to the beach.
For the first time, we got to see some of Vietnam’s natural terrain. We passed rice farmers in the marshes and children running around palm trees. It was stunning to see the beauty of Vietnam. After venturing through the natural landscape of Vietnam, we began passing small towns. Small towns of rundown shops, old buildings and elderly people sitting in the sun.
These area was very different from the high end hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City. While there were also elderly people chilling along the sidewalks in the city too, these towns on the way exposed the true change happening in Vietnam. Just as in the city, there might be an old run down store right next to a new constructed super market. Vietnam is evolving.
Changes are also occurring in cities, but when the less populated parts of a country start to experience significant economic changes then you know a real shift is happening. These towns are a prime example of the impact that development is having on the country. lol The resort town also presented these qualities.
The beach town Vung Tau was absolutely stunning. There were extravagant hotels and lots of restaurants, but only a few miles away were rackety shops and street food carts. While there, we enjoyed the amenities of the Imperial Hotel, a five star hotel. It was my first time at a five star hotel resort and it did not disappoint. There was a pool, restaurant, bar and direct access to the beach. It was good time.
Today’s excursion exposed the eye opening changes that are occurring in Vietnam.
P.S. We also went to the Jesus statue. A massive statue of Jesus Christ raising out his arms over the Vietnamese countryside. I saved this for the end because it the best thing that happened today.
While trekking up the large hill and sweating profusely along the way, some of us in the group decided to take a picture. I turn around to get into picture ready position, when I make eye contact with an elderly Vietnamese woman. She smiled widely and walked towards me. I smiled back when she reached out to shake my hand. She began to speak in a different language and I just smile. Then she moves the next person in our group and then the next and so forth. Another elderly Vietnamese woman appears to shake my hand, then another and then another until there about 6 woman shaking all of our hands.
We were thrown off guard. These women just smiled and stared at us. We then began to get into picture position and motioned the ladies to join. They happily accepted our offer and joined the picture.
That was the highlight moment of today. Although the beach was fantastic, interacting with those women left a lasting impact. Both of our groups were able to look past the fact we couldn’t understand each other. We were able to see each other for what each other were. People. We even have a picture to prove it.