Magic in Vietnam

by James Murtaugh, Mar 1, 2002 | Destinations: Vietnam / Da Nang

I found magic in many places in Vietnam. This is a story of one such place. China Beach (Danang). It is a hot spring day. China beach is beautiful. I walk south from my group. There is a large group of teenage Vietnamese boys. I learn that they are on a school trip with their teacher. The teacher has a camera and some of the boys want their picture taken with the American with the Happy Buddha belly. Maybe they think I'm a movie star! And so they take my picture with the boys. At the end I ask to take a picture of the class. Back home, when I develop the picture I find it to be my favorite. All the boys are smiling, some wave, some give me thumbs up, some the v sign. They have their arms on their friends shoulders. The teacher looks so proud of his students! I hang the picture on the wall in my house. Each day they smile at me and I have to smile back at them. For they are the future of Vietnam. After saying goodbye to the school boys I walk north. My bare feet in the South China Sea, picking up seashells to remind me of this place. After while I must get back to my tour group. Turning away from the water I walk toward the road. There are a group of Vietnamese men sitting under umbrellas drinking beer. As I walk by they call me over. A man gives me his glass of beer and they have me sit down. They want to know where I'm from, am I married, do I have kids, what is my country like. I tell them how cold it is at home. One man tells me he went to school in Siberia and THAT is cold. I think they are Vietnamese military but I don't ask. I think how lucky they are to spend their time off on such a beautiful beach. I keep telling them I have to go. My friends are waiting. They keep filling my glass with beer. At last I had to say goodbye. The tour group is waiting for me. Sometimes I hate the tour bus! I could have drank beer with those guys far into the night. Magic!!

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