For many of us, images of Vietnam are frozen in a time 40-plus years ago.
Images include burning villages, Agent Orange, soldiers slogging through jungles and the last handful of Americans leaving by helicopter from an embassy rooftop.
In this week’s show, Mike O’Neil shares impressions of a rapidly-changing country after spending over two weeks in Vietnam, including Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon), boating up the Mekong Delta and crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels.
One illustrative snippet: He drove through Da Nang, site of a massive U.S. airbase during the war. Looking to your right, you see the abandoned remains of that airbase, unused and largely frozen in time. Da Nang is Vietnam’s third-largest city and has a substantial international airport. Mike falsely assumed they used the previous airbase as its nucleus.
After noting the former airbase, turn your head to the left and observe what is now next door to this remnant — a massive Chinese casino.
And just beyond that, along a long stretch of beach, a whole string of high-end timeshare resorts.