Vietnam, a country revitalized by the spirit of its people. Wendy Feltham and Larry Fisher bicycle across the countryside experiencing the beauty of the Vietnamese people and culture, and also coming upon specters of the US involvement in the country from almost 40 years ago.
Their fifteen-day ride through endless hills and puddles took them past rice paddies and shrimp farms and through forests of rubber trees and fragrant blooming coffee bushes, which contribute to Vietnam being the world’s second largest exporter of coffee behind Brazil. Encounters with local schoolchildren who greeted them with enthusiasm, and images of women planting rice and men watering their crop vegetables, or of old women sitting by the side of the road with small piles of fruit for sale, left an indelible impression of the industriousness and goodwill of the Vietnamese people.
Starting in Hue, the former imperial capital in the central region, Wendy and Larry cycled to Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, the largest city in the country. Along the Gulf of Tonkin, passing through Da Nang, they came upon China Beach, famed to wounded and weary American soldiers almost 40 years ago, it now hosts international surfing competitions and is revisioning itself as a tourist destination with the country’s first authentic luxury resort. In Hanoi, the capital, they observed local cyclists carrying complete portable shops, huge loads of flowers, multi-gallon jugs of water, live plum trees, and whole families, weaving through hordes of motorbikes, cyclos, cars, buses and trucks.