I convinced my Daddy Dearest to go on a trip with me. And then I asked him to write about the adventure from his perspective. So this blog was written by him. (and yes it made me cry).
Vietnam & Thailand: I love that girl!
I am setting in the corner of a posh Bangkok Airport Hotel crying. Kara and I just spent 12 days together touring Vietnam and Thailand. I went to the airport with her today to say goodbye to my precious daughter. She’s on her own for the last 6 days of her trip to Southeast Asia. She wanted to see Chiang Mi and Phuket, Thailand, but I am on my way home.
Some people have asked me if I worry about Kara traveling so much, to so many places, sometimes by herself. Before I didn’t. Now I do. I am feeling bad about leaving her today. “What a heartless father,” I think to myself. But, I must stop to realize the reality of her life and travel; I will not always be there to protect and shelter her. She sometimes complains to me that we raised her in such a sheltered environment. That she was unprepared for the real world…Real World?
Is this the real world?
Actually, on this trip, I think that she spent more time taking care of me. I would have been completely lost many times, without map or compass. Why worry about her now? I don’t worry about her in a feeble, hope-she-is-ok type of worry, but I worry in the way of hoping that she finds the things in her journeys that she is searching for. The thing we all search for; finding meaning from life.
Let me tell you why I love my daughter so much…
That’s why! She is a dreamer. I had the privilege to go with her on her first Asia Trip. What an honor. So why am I crying then? Here is why: LOVE. Not just any love but a father’s love. “I love her so much!” and she sometimes wonders if I really do.
Wish I could say the trip was perfect, but it wasn’t. Second day, I got pick-pocked in Hanoi. My camera was stolen, and I didn’t realize it until blocks later down the road. There were many times of uncertainty and stress dealing with the immediate situation. I often wished the language barrier didn’t divide so much.
Quiet Hanoi Street
We visited Hanoi Hilton where John McCain was taken prisoner. There was a picture on the wall and the flight suit he was wearing when he got shot down. The museum’s perspective emphasized the fine human treatment the American pilots received. Pictures of prisoners getting medical care and playing games in the courtyard. While in Vietnam, I began reading articles about the war and soon realized there are two sides to the story, each conflicting with the other. Would be nice if the truth was apparent. At least no one was hostile to us. Everyone was so polite, but then again, maybe it was because we were staying in the Hanoi Sheraton. Kara commented one time observing the fact that the Hilton chain never built a hotel in Hanoi. Curious thing…
McCain’s Flight Suit
We went to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island and stayed there two days. I love the “putt-putt” boats that filled the bay always coming and going for only God knows why…
Cat Ba, Island
We rented Scooters:)
From there we took the overnight train to Sapa, Vietnam. The mountain village people have created some of the most amazing farming creations on the planet. The terrace rice patties spotting the landscape make a beautiful mosaic of contoured colors. To realize that all that mud was moved by hand one shovel at a time. There was mud and water everywhere. The Sapa range was one big spring coming from every part of the mountain. There were even terrace mounds layered into what looked like a huge wedding cake hundreds of feet high. How does the water get to the top of that wedding cake?
In the morning, we met our tour guide in the city for a “trek” into the villages of the Sapa mountains. We were joined by what looked like 5 or 6 village women who just happened to be walking our direction. In the end, they expected us to purchase their products. In Vietnam everywhere you go it seems like there are street venders harassing you to buy their handmade goods.
We went to several food markets, and I cannot believe these people don’t have severe food poisoning issues! Raw meat of every type sitting out at room temperature. Flies and other varmints, like mice and rats, finding a gold mine of delight.
As I head back home hoping there will be enough seats on the airplane, I wonder to myself would I do this again? Yes! Great trip, but next time I am staying for the whole journey! Be safe Kara…
“I love that girl!”
Praying for you!