During my time in The "American" war in 1967 the female Vietnamese I saw in the countryside were the old or very young. Only one time did I see a girl my age. Passing by Hue, sitting in the back of a truck, I saw a Vietnamese girl wearing a white Ao Dai dress. Very beautiful! On my trip to Vietnam, 2002, I was lucky to have a female guide from Danang. She was on the Local T.V. station before becoming a guide. She wears modern western clothes and makeup. A very beautiful woman. On our trip to Marble Mountain she wears the Vietnamese conical hat(non) and the formal ao dai traditional dress. Wow! In time I find her to be a very smart, funny, caring, kind person. She works many hours each day to make our trip great. She proves also to be very tough. She is the first female guide to hike the hills of the DMZ with the crazy American tourists. Unknown to us her pack has beer, soda, bread and cheese for our lunch. What a girl! She is the first Vietnamese woman that I've gotten to know. She was so kind to all of us. I just loved her humor. Another Vietnamese woman on my last trip touched me, but not until I got home. I took many pictures on my trip and sometimes later I find a surprize. This one is of an old woman. I think I took it in Hue. She wears the palm leaf conical hat, worn with time, a scarf, a flowered shirt and heavy coat. It is the cold season. Her face has the wrinkles of someone who has worked many years in the hot Vietnamese sun. She smiles but it is a tight lipped smile. There is a twinkle in her eyes that says that a young Vietnamese girl still lives inside. There is also a proud look, a "Look at me" look on her face. She has seen the horrible face of war for most of her life but she has lived to see a peaceful Vietnam. A Vietnam moving into a much more happier time. If I had been able to talk to her I'm sure I would have liked her alot. Next to her in the picture there is the rear of a motorcycle. The symbol of the new Vietnam. The old and the new! I wish she could know of the joy her picture brought me.
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