Mahn's View of the World
Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
299Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Ellen and I were sitting at the computer in our hotel lobby in Hanoi's old quarter trying to plan for our time in Fiji when Mahn, the hotel owner approached.
"You hear 'bout Saddam Hussein?" he asked in badly broken English.
"Yes," I replied as Ellen continued to type.
Ellen stopped typing. We both looked up at Mahn. He was the first Vietnamese person to make mention of the Vietnam war.
With a hand chopping motion, Mahn continued, "Many Vietnam baby born, no arm, no leg. Illness pass from generation to generation."
I knew he was trying to explain the affects of the defoliant Agent Orange used by the Americans during the Vietnam war. Ellen and I had seen these horribly deformed creatures with twisted bodies crawling about the streets of Vientiene, Laos a few years ago.
Slowly I said, "There are many, many good American people. It is governments that are sometimes bad."
Mahn looked at me, unsure of what I was saying, and with a saddened shake of his head uttered the words "Nixon, Bush." Then he invited us to eat dinner with his family.
There are many 60 something US tourists in Hanoi. Friendly and free spending, I can't help but wonder if they are here to revisit the scene of the crime or they return in an act of penance.
As G.W. Bush continues to democratize Earth, perhaps his next move will be Mars or some other planet that he likely has scribbled down on a pad somewhere in the Oval Office, Hanoi lives on.