A frustrating week

We’re leaving Hanoi in just under three hours time. It has been a mixed week for us and a real contrast to our busy and productive time in Thailand. Hanoi is a lovely city, although a lot more cars and tourists than when I first came here in the mid 1990s have spoilt some of the charm of the old part of the city. Regardless, it was good to have some rest and the girls have loved exploring all the little streets and many interesting shops. The latter part of the week became a bit frustrating for me. It was good to get out in the countryside on Thursday and do a bit of informal filming, but not as much as I had hoped to achieve in the Red River area.

By yesterday I was ready to be moving, but we’ve had to wait for my former student to return to Thai Nguyen City, two hours north of Hanoi. That’s where we are heading this afternoon and will be going out to see some farmers in that area with Mao. Thai Nguyen province is famous for its green tea production. We’re not sure about internet access from there, so may not be able to send updates until we come back through Hanoi on Tuesday evening.

We’ll be catching a night train then down to Hue.

My number one goal in Viet Nam is to get down into the Mekong Delta and will be doing as much as I can to ensure we make the most of the remainder of our time here. I read this morning in the English Viet Nam News that the Mekong Delta is experiencing drought, forest fire risk and salination problems because of low water levels. Current predictions are for a late start to the monsoon this year. I’m very interested to get out into the Delta area and talk more to people about what they are experiencing, and hopefully we can meet some people who are working for the future.

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