I managed to return to my office, physically okay but mentally, groggy.
Yes, I got in and out of Vietnam in one piece but I cannot recall any other place besides Hanoi where I had to wait for more than one hour just to get past the immigration counter.
And yes too, I managed to slurp the famous 'pho' noodles (a couple of bowls actually), as well as to see the very unique water puppet show.
I once went to see a Japanese Bunraku puppet show. It was interesting for the first ten minutes or so, after which I doze off.
However, the Vietnamese water puppet show captivated me throughout the one-hour show. I yearned to see more as the curtains fell.
And, I didn't get pick-pocketed (yeah!) but was shortchanged by a street moneychanger by about 1000 yen in Hanoi (that wretched woman!).
Furthermore, a taxi man at Ho Chin Min city or rather, Saigon, took me for ride. Duh! (more on these episodes when I have time to pen...)
Vietnam, in one word, was exhilarating.
The few days spent there have been a feet-aching (due to too much walking in too short a time period), titillating (the sights, smells, and sounds coming from everywhere at the same time) as well as an eye-opening (the decades-old, huge trees that line the roads, the buildings and churches from the French era) experience.
Vietnam is replete with vigor radiating from her people, the riotous roads, and the thousands upon thousands of motorbikes.
My trip purpose was to operate the university booth at the two Japan Education Fairs in Hanoi and Saigon.
Interacting with the students there, I was left with a strong and positive impression of the Vietnamese youth.
They struggled with their English and their Japanese. But give them a few years and I am quite sure that they will be at the forefront, leading Vietnam to great heights.
For, there was little doubt that inside, they have this fire... this look of hunger to make it...
I say, watch these folks...