"By train from Hué to Saigon, 1995" Vietnam Favorite Tip by Nemorino
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On August 7, 1995, we took a twenty-four hour train ride on the S3 from Hué to Saigon.
I think it was on this train ride that I met a man of about my age who turned out to be a retired general from the (North) Vietnamese army. He was traveling with two of his grandchildren, and when he heard that I was an American army veteran he was very interested in talking with me.
The trouble was that we had no common language. My few words of Vietnamese were enough to explain that I had been a radio operator at Phước Vĩnh and that I had done a lot of interpreting between tiếng Anh (English) and tiếng Pháp (French) while I was stationed in the village of Tân Ba. But that was about it.
Some people sitting near us who spoke a bit of English or French tried to help, so we did succeed in having a slow and very rudimentary conversation, the main point of which was that there was no anger or vengefulness on either side.
This was my experience everywhere I went in Vietnam in 1995, which in retrospect I find quite amazing considering that our two governments had been fighting a bitter war just twenty years before.
1. View from the train in central Vietnam, 1995
2. Beach and boats, as seen from the train
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