My Films

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ky La, Vietnam

I've dreamt of visiting Vietnam for a long, long time. There is something captivating about it. Perhaps, it's the traditional women's dress the Ao Dai or the tangy and crisp cuisine. Perhaps, it's because the war in Iraq is often compared to the war in Vietnam and I wanted to desperately understand what happened here 30 years ago. I wanted to see what the US had done to Vietnam. If it was possible to still see the traces of the war in the way people lived.

If you have ever seen the Oliver Stone film Heaven and Earth then you've seen these rice paddies before. La Lee Haslip, the woman’s whose life story is depicted in the film, came from this village. Now, living in the US, she has raised money to build health clinics, schools, and vocational training centers for her people. We visited one of the health clinics and met with children suffering from birth defects because of Agent Orange. I have to say it was completely heartbreaking to see these beautiful innocent children who wouldn’t grow up to be healthy adults one day. Their grandparents been affected directly from the toxic sprays of dioxin, yet they had to suffer through the consequences through no fault of their own.

The beauty of the land and the people are undeniable. I didn’t feel any anger or resentment amongst the people. We were welcomed into the homes of the villagers, shared meal with them, played games with their children. We slept on straw mats strewn across the floor, avoided huge crawly insects and sweat through 38 C degree heat. I’d like to one day do a backpacking trip through Vietnam.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back from the boat!

Hey I just completed 102 days of sailing around the world. I am back in Tokyo, Japan for now. I will start posting photos here and on fliker in the next couple of days. Come back soon!