Monday, May 20, 2013

Preparing for the 'Nam

Tuesday I'm leaving on a very long journey to Vietnam. I have the amazing opportunity to go on a Vietnam War study abroad trip to Vietnam with my lovely undergrad institution and my favorite history professor who I went to Europe with 3 years ago.
Many people are shocked when I tell them that I am going to Vietnam. They look at me and wonder why in the world I am going all the way to this southeast Asia country. Well because I have done most of my undergraduate and a lot of graduate school research and projects related to the Vietnam War. My first project examined the roles of women in the Vietnam War from nurses, to the women's army corp, red cross workers, and other civilian organizations. In addition I continued to further examine this War and women's place in it throughout grad school.
Second  Lieutenant Kathleen Sullivan treating a Vietnamese child 
All of this research was spurred by a conversation that I was fortunate to stumble upon in undergrad. I was conducting oral history interviews with woman veterans when I found a woman who had been a nurse in the Vietnam War. Since that day I have essentially become obsessed with finding out more about this war and time period.
Enter this lovely study abroad trip with my favorite professor from my undergrad, Flagler College. It will be a fast paced trip through a country that is comparable to the size of New Mexico in land area.
Our Itinerary has us in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) and surrounding area for about 3 days. We will explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, and a floating market. 
Tour guide demonstrates a secret entrance into the Cu Chi Tunnels 
From there we will begin our journey north stopping in Da Nang and the Cham Museum, followed by Hoi An where we will visit the iconic and famous My Khe beach which was nicknamed "China Beach" by the English, and the Marble Mountains.
My Khe Beach aka "China Beach"
 In addition to these we will get a change to explore Hoi An including a bicycle excursion into the countryside. (I haven't ridden a bike in a couple years so this will be interesting). After a full day of exploring we will begin our journey to Hue which was a former capital of Vietnam and full of the ancient history of Vietnam. We are scheduled to explore the Tomb of Tu Doc, Khai Dinh, and Minh Mang. That afternoon we will get to ride down the perfume river exploring the 200-year-old Citadel and Imperial City.
Imperial City 
 Our final stop in our tour through the country will be in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam during the war. Our major stops will be the Ho Chi Minh Complex and the Hoa Lo Prison, aka the "Hanoi Hilton" which became famous when American POWs were held there. This trip will be eventful and amazing. I cannot wait to see all that Vietnam has and visit the first and only Starbucks located in Ho Chi Minh! 

(all pictures come from Wikipedia) 

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