Friendly Cruises and Maurice Weir Review Vietnam Hong Kong and China

Vietnam

Saigon-Aerial-NightFriendly Cruises and Maurice Weir Review Vietnam Hong Kong and China.  We docked on the coast, about 90 minutes from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).  We decided not to take the long drive there, and instead toured the coastal area.  We booked a private tour with a group of Australian Vets who volunteer their time to give tours, and use the proceeds to fund volunteer projects in the local area.

There were no ATM’s or credit cards accepted in most of Vietnam, our guide said he would pay for our simple lunch with Vietnamese money and we could reimburse him in dollars.

In Vietnam, fisherman catch small shrimp in the tidal ponds in large nets and then use one lane of the highway to dry them in the sun. We must have passed millions of tiny shrimp spread out on the road.

Our guide Peter fought in Vietnam in 1969-70, then returned 8 years ago and fell in love with the place. He and several other Vets devote their time to raising money to build schools.

#1VietnamHere is a picture of Peter and Kerry smelling a cashew that fell of the tree and a picture of the school.

We visited a war memorial and several battle sites near Vung Tau and then toured the nearby Viet Cong tunnel system. Ten of us walked through the —enlarged for tourists

According to Peter, in this Communist country, there is no organized health care, schooling or government support for the people in any way. It is simply work or starve. To build their schools that are open to everyone, the charity needed to bribe the local politicians at each step of the process.

I asked Peter why he stays. The Aussie smiled and said, “Cheap beer, mate.”

RestarauntThis photo Kerry on the balcony was taken at our lunch restaurant, which by the way, is a real Aussie Vet hangout.

Hong Kong

HongKong#2Almost thirty years ago, Kerry and I visited Hong Kong on a business trip. Not much seemed changed. Like NY city and other older large cities, if it wasn’t for the change in clothing styles, it could be any decade. There are always millions of people scurrying around living their lives amongst these giant stalagmites that we call skyscrapers. We spent 12 hours visiting the sights. I have included a picture of me having a drink (with Kerry) at the Peninsula Hotel, where we stayed 30 years ago.  I have also posted a picture of Kerry outside another swanky hotel.

Xiamen

Xiamen, China is a lovely modern resort city on the sea. There are two notable memories I take away with me.

One is the beautiful parks, especially the sea front park that stretches for miles along the beach. Perfectly manicured with dozens of beautiful statues, this park is the most beautiful of any we have visited, anywhere. I thought it was interesting how the Chinese dress to spend a day at the beach. Fully clothed, with their skin totally covered and an umbrella to shield the suns rays, they walk or sit on the sandy beach.

Our guide said that the Chinese value pale skin and do not want to have it darken. Evidently the more pale you are, the more high class you are in China, because you don’t have to labor in the sun.

SaraThe second memory I take away is the story our guide, “Sarah” told. I asked her if families were now allowed to have two children in China. She explained that the law recently has changed and if a man has no siblings, then his family may have up to two children.

Photo of Sarah and Kerry:

Maurice Weir thank you for sharing this amazing story with us of your adventures in Asia.

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