After the past few days touring companies and attending class at UEF, our group finally had a change of pace as we traveled to Vung Tau, a resort town outside of the city. During the three-hour bus ride to the resort, I got to see a new side of the country. Through the windows of the bus I could see the swampy landscape of rural Vietnam and the poverty that a majority of the citizens must face. Many small shops that sold pho and other traditional Vietnamese cuisine littered the street. It was difficult to watch as normal people clearly struggle to make a living in the impoverished area, I have seen poverty before but nothing like this. The slow-pace of the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City signals that the development that has jumpstarted the country’s economy has not touched this area yet.
Once we arrived at Vung Tau I was amazed by the sight, a huge statue of Jesus Christ was positioned atop a massive hill. In the sweltering heat we climbed, and climbed, and climbed until as a group we reached the foot of Jesus. We sported long pants and ditched our shoes at the entrance of the statue and started our long ascent. After hundreds of steps and some pretty close personal contact, we reached the top. The view from the head of the statues was breathtaking. Shortly after we climbed back down the statue and the hill to our bus. Next we arrived at the resort where as a group we enjoyed a five-course lunch and had free time to relax. Vung Tau differed from other resort towns I have visited in that the area was not inhibited other than the resorts and was impoverished.
The relaxing beach day was much needed and I am looking forward to the rest of the trip!