Vibrant Vietnam - 2007

that day. The girls at the reservation desk suggested that we take a room temporarily and then move when she returned and the room was cleaned. We said that was absolutely unacceptable since her return could not be predicted and we did not want to be aroused at 11PM or so and told to move into the newly cleaned room. Their next suggestion was that we pay an additional $90.00 for an upgraded room on a different floor since they had nothing else to offer us. Well, that wasn’t feasible or fair since the whole mix-up was not our fault. Anyway, we asked for the manager who approached all smiles and ingratiation. He quickly resolved the whole matter, and we were given an appropriate room with no further charges. The girls behind the desk evidently did not have the authority to handle such problems. We left Saigon and Lan with smiles and headed for Siem Reap in Cambodia, the closest airport to the Angkor Empire complex. Our flight was less than an hour and I cannot say I was sorry to leave the rains of Vietnam, but all of us were happy to see that the country has rebounded so well and is moving so meaningfully towards greater personal freedom and a comfortable economy to support all the citizens. We were also relieved that the young people we met were not anti-American but actually even pro-“things American” anyway. They seemed genuinely welcoming and grateful for our money spent visiting their homeland and did not waste time or energy on recriminations and resentments. Still, I cannot decide whether or not the Republic of South Vietnam is worth mourning or whether a united Vietnam (even under communism) is not a stronger and more progressive society than the two halves might have been separately. The Vietnamese themselves seem to be “over” the debate and are just moving on and increasing the well-being of the whole society. I guess we should accept that decision and fret no more over history which cannot be changed anyway.

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