I was going to post a page on whether it is better to hire a tour company, or travel on ones own. Instead, let me tell you about a very strange bicycle ride. As some of you know, I have been trying to lose weight. Every morning, seas permitting, I have been going for a swim right outside my front door. There are a couple of other expats that are also out for a swim. Both of them are 70 years old, and at the moment, can out swim me without effort. Perhaps in a bit, I will be able to keep up with them, but this good ol’ prairie boy starts getting nervous after a quarter mile straight out from shore.. The others head out as far as half a mile. No rescue in sight if they get in trouble. After the refreshing swim, I head in for breakfast and do my blog. At about 10 am or so, I have been heading out for areas unknown to see what I can see. Vietnam is a beautiful country if you can look beyond the road side refuse. A typical ride will take a person past foul smelling piles of garbage and extremely polluted areas of water before coming to more pristine places. But if a person can look up and ignore the mess all around, one can easily see the beauty all around. The beauty is also in the people. I can not count how many times I encounter people living in areas that have not ever seen a white person before. Often they give me violent pointing gestures trying to send me in the direction that they assume that I want to go. Well…. Isn’t a big surprise to them when I tell them in Vietnamese that I am just riding around to see the sights!
Yesterday my ride took me along the main highway leading into NhaTrang. After 15 kilometers or so, I veered off the main road onto a small lane that lead off towards the mountains. I followed the trail until it became dirt and happened upon a place I am sure was one of the infamous re-education camps from the past. It could easily be mistaken for an old POW camp, but so close to NhaTrang made me think it was probably not the case. I was gazing at the place amazingly when a Honda CBX …. What??… I think 1000 cc’s passed me with 2 men, both armed with rifles poking out of Bags…. Huh?? First of all, you have to be government to have a bike that big (there are a few exceptions), and carrying rifles? Hmmmmm. A coincidence I am sure, unless the deserted camp was a prison or something and I did not recognize it as such……. Anyway, A little further up I encountered a woman with two young girls riding a bicycle. I returned the yell of hello, and stopped to talk a bit. The woman made very little effort to talk as I could tell she had very little education, but was constantly gesturing to one of the girls and making money signs. I assumed she was trying to get some kind of charity and I usually give to those that look like they deserve it and not those that ask. I refused the attempt at money and carried on. I cruised a bit about and headed back to the main road. The same woman with the girls was waiting knowing that I had to return via the same road. I had found a couple thousand dong in my pocked and had decided to give it up to someone one and when I saw the girls again, I stopped and took another photo. Now here is what got strange…… The young girl in the hat looked at me and said “Boom Boom?” Whaaaaa???? I assumed that this was some sort of cutesy thing or her mimicking something she heard. The woman again made motions for money and I slipped the 2000 note to the girl. I cycled back into town somewhat satisfied at the wilderness encounter, but also sort of bothered about this encounter with the girls.
I stopped in a friends bar for a bit of a chat. He has lived and worked in Asia for 25 years and in our conversation, he mentioned to me that a woman had tried to sell him an underage girl not far from where I am located. He said he told the woman to F**K o** in very violent terms and all of a sudden thing became clear to me!! What an idiot I have been. I have been offered young girls many times in the past for sex and did not know it. Damn!!!!….. A dark side to this place. Apparently, pedophilia is something that though uncommon, is easily had. There are people from the city with money that will go to the country to abuse children…. Dammit!!! I did not need to know this, let alone it happen to me. The girl in the hat in the photo is now haunting my memory. Someone is going to abuse her… maybe not now, but if the offer stands, it will happen eventually. So sad!!…. A person cannot go charging back to try to save her… She is home with mommy and probably has no idea what happened. The age of consent in Vietnam is 18… I think a good thing, unlike back home where some degenerate got it set at 14.
Being in Vietnam I do understand the urge……. I truly do….there are young beauties everywhere. But Pedophiles should be shot in my opinion. From this day forward, I do not know how I will react to the offer of another young girl…….. I was such a blind idiot!!!!
But yet….. what can an old fat westerner do?… Now I understand some of the posters I have seen in some bars about town raging against pedophilia… It does exist.. I remember there was a case against Gary Glitter not to long ago, it happened here in Vietnam.