Viet Nam has had an important role in my life, probably even in ways that I haven't clearly identified or articulated yet. The four times I've been there have come at critical transitions in my life
, as if Viet Nam held doorways through which I needed to pass.
The people, culture, and cuisine seem to resonate deeply. We've made wonderful friends, for whom we have deep respect and affection. Their Confucian family relationships seem more like than different from our Southern U.S. roots. In the remarkable way that the Vietnamese integrate Daoist, Confucian, Buddhist, Christian, and other practices, I find affinity with my own view that all religions, philosophies, and other ways of viewing the world are simply "Windows on the Truth" of equal value. And, of course, there is the wonderful cuisine. We keep nuoc mam (fish sauce) in our kitchen and drink ca phe sua with delight. I even have a precious vial of ca cuong squirreled away in the refrigerator and Patti and I have eaten cha ca at what author Patricia Schultz reportedly ranks as one of the top three places you should eat before you die.
Each of the following web sites is a different window into my experience with Viet Nam.