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Asian Pen Pal: Vietnam

Nolan Heitman, Senior Reporter

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Dear Nolan Heitman,

I am currently heading to a local river market near the Mekong Delta. There are hundreds of boats traveling with us, most carrying fruits and different types of produce. Most of the boats are ragged and worn with age and there seems that the day of having a new boat will never come. None of my siblings or even my parents can remember when we got this hunk of wood and a stick but we seem to look to the bright side of old age. Every line, scrape, and basket has a story to tell and it is up to us to continue and spread this story.

Many farmers come from miles around to sell their products at this market. Finding fresh fish in local rivers is quite difficult due to the unsanitary state of the rivers which is why produce and clothing are sold instead of fish. The marketing style is quite vague with most merchants hanging their own clothes up on the racks even though the items are not for sale, they’re their very own belongings. Due to the confusing advertisement you have to know who has what and have good connections.

At the market you never seem to be alone not just because everybody is trying to sell you stuff but is feels like we’re all part of one big endless river. We don’t know where we’re going to end up but, through stories, friends, and experiences we never feel lost or afraid. We just roll with the punches in Vietnam.

If you would like to travel here I bet it would be quite easy for you. I see Americans everyday speaking each others’ ears off with their blunt language. (No offense) The floating markets are popular attractions for foreign visitors. I am very flattered by that due to the hot days and unsanitary rivers that seem to be more common and annoying than the mosquitoes. I am sorry to joke about your culture but we would just love that you’d come sometime and get to know my family and I in person.

Thank you Nolan for sending me letters and sharing your thoughts and opinions with me. This has become a way better alternative than cleaning the deck. Please send me a letter as soon as you read this, or come down to Vietnam! My family have been anxious for you to come and talk about your culture and tales of adventure!

Sincerely,

Wu Man

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Asian Pen Pal: Vietnam