HANOI We took a very short flight from Laos to Hanoi, arriving at night, so our first impressions of the city were necessarily a little vague. The airport was a long way from our hotel in central downtown and we mainly were astonished at all the big trucks parked on the sides of the roads into the city. Evidently, traffic rules demand that the trucks stay out of downtown from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. to accommodate the city’s own rush hour. The other surprise was to see the flags on the light poles that identified Hanoi as “City of Peace.” Strange to our eyes since we were used to thinking of this city as the site of the Hanoi Hilton, the headquarters of the Communist war machine during what we call the “Vietnam War’ (called by the Vietnamese themselves, the “American War’), and the place we bombed regularly. At this time of arrival, we were a bit apprehensive about our reception here; but the young man who met us at the airport certainly hid any anti-American feelings he may have had. Of course, we were to learn later that neither he nor most other young people did harbor negative sentiments.
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