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Hanoi and the Midnight Train

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I finally made it to Vietnam, and the trip was wonderful. Like China, Vietnam has a great deal of construction. We stayed in the Old Quarter, and the people were friendly. The French clearly influenced the architecture, and the buildings very much have a colonial feel. The Old Quarter is crowded in and the little shops are neat and clean. The Vietnamese clearly take pride in their places of business. Westerners are everywhere, and you can get by with English. A few Westerners even own restaurants. I felt very at home.

We visited the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where American pilots were kept as POWs. There are numerous photos of John McCain. We also had an excellent trip to the American Embassy in Hanoi. One of the representatives was from Madison County, Kentucky.

We also had a productive meeting with officials at the Hanoi Foreign Trade University. Who knows, I may make it back to Vietnam.

Vietnam was all that I expected and more. The traffic was similar to China's, but with more mopeds, and the always constant horn honking.

We took the night train back to Nanning, and that was an experience. We had sleeper cars and were awoke around 4:00 am to go through Vietnamese and then Chinese Customs. It had the feel of a Cold War spy film.

See you soon.

John Ernst
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