Katie Widner's Blog

March 6, 2011

The joker's card: Vietnam

As a well traveled college student, I know what to expect out of the rudimentary. It’s the joker card that gets me most excited. The best thing about traveling is the unexpected – when beautiful moments transpire out of thin air. When I heard that Comm. 438T would travel to Vietnam, it sounded like an adventure and in just three days, oh what an adventure it’s been.

Man smoking pipe gets quite a bit of photo action at Hanoi airportA local man squats and smokes from a large handmade pipe as the CSUF students all grab photos of the unique shot for their portfolios. Photo by Katie Widner

The flight to Vietnam is a total of 18 hours. Calculate in time for security, taxiing the runway and layovers in Japan where they decide to make you check part of your carry on, and you’re looking at nearly 24 hours of travel time.

We arrived in Hanoi close to midnight and still had an hour drive to the Sunway Hotel. Although it was late at night, we passed a roadside flower market bustling with people. The next morning, we headed back to the airport to pick up the newest arrivals of volunteers on this medical mission.

We had a bit of downtime in the parking lot where we had our first encounter with the beautiful faces of Vietnam.  First, a weathered man smoking a tobacco pipe, then a family who collected and bundled trash.

Every time I see a dog, my heart skips a beat. I can’t help the images that flash into my mind. The dog’s silhouette, skinned and roasted with the legs bundled hanging in the market sold piece by piece. Legs. Shoulder. Meat.