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31 December 2016 @ 07:47 am
Hue to Danang to Hoi An = a whole lot of learning (and time on a bus)  
From Mom:

"You cannot kiss on the streets, but you can piss on the streets," said our guide
We did not test his assertion, but we did learn that Vietnamese body language is different from American body language. This was not a revelation, as body language is largely cultural. Good to know, though, that you should never pass someone just one toothpick, as passing a sharp object is likely to be taken as incitement to rumble. Instead, you should pass the entire box. Remember this if you are ever in Vietnam and your guide has spinach stuck in his teeth.

"You don't eat meat? I'll make lamb?"
We got the vegetarian meal for lunch, specifying no fish, no pork, no meat. The soup had many nice, rosy shrimp. The poor waiter kept insisting that shrimp didn't count as fish. Apparently, they don't here. News to me.

Back to the trip, we journeyed past great swaths of rice paddies, farmed by hand, largely by women in conical straw hats. We drove up a mountain, through gorgeous scenery, into Danang. It's a booming town, totally unlike what we've seen in the rest of the country, with luxurious golf courses, hotels, and resorts. You'd never know Vietnam is a Communist country from Danang.

Fast facts.
1. China Beach is called Danang Beach because Vietnam doesn't want the association with China, which is odd because they have very close ties with China.
2. A hugely popular product in Vietnam is eucalyptus oil, a magical cure-all, so I figured I'd get some for everyone. Great packaging, but it smells like turpentine. Thus, not coming home.
3. About 15 people on this trip are Jewish. One of them ( not me, for a change) asked, "How many Jewish people are in Vietnam?" Our guide looked around and replied, "About 15."