Travel and Live Deeper
We are squeezed in a mini bus and we are travelling from Ha Noi onto the old capital Niem Bin.
The passengers tend to North American WASP values with some exceptions. Some Britishers leaving the cloister of European sojourns and deep-diving into Asia — for four months. A couple of ABCs who seemingly have no affiliation to their Asian routes and a couple of POC who appear to have equal measures of privilege and oppression. And myself a long term expat-ed Kiwi.
It’s early days and I have not really clicked with anyone in the group yet. The energy and agility is low and the attachment to the likes of yelp means I find what they want to do far too prescriptive for a person with a free spirit and a curiosity borne in the present.
Out driver speaks not a word of English. Our tour guide amazingly speaks better English and with a knowledge far more nuanced than many of my fellow travellers.
As we travel I try chatting away to the guide outside his scripted descriptions and it definitely loosens him up to give far more. He worries deeply about the passengers values. And with good reason. My companions are pretty vanilla and he gets the stock standard American apologies and praise for how ‘forgiving’ The Vietnamese are towards the US.
They seem blissfully unaware that the Vietnamese won the war and in the most part the Vietnamese see their enemy as have being always far closer geographically than Washington or Paris.
We pass poverty and we pass opulence. Always with a dialogue about the value of a building and who owns it. He usually speaks disparagingly about the multi-billionaire ex-policeman with multiple children and connected with this and that. His second enemy besides the big country at his border is also an ideology. Communism.
He tells us stories of what its like to have a government job. Communism creates a waste and an inefficiency that makes such jobs doddles.
Here in the bus we have mostly millienials who are looking to do the same. But they hardly show interest. The largest existential threat to their ways of life is in fact wilful ignorance. They all display it.
One of the brasher members of the group is unusually quiet. He is ABC and reflecting back maybe he had more depth than he awkwardly hid through loudmouthed bravado. Reflecting back maybe some of what our guide shared may have splintered the veneer.