April 30th 1975, the day North “Viet-cong” took over the South and planted their flag on the roof of the South President’s residence, I was only 12 years old.

Being born in South before that date, meaning I and that same 60′ generation had no idea what is Ha-noi and who were living in that region. Of course, through propaganda, which both sides of the country used during the ugly war, I had very bad images of people and still can remember how cruel and savaged the way they described Viet-cong. I am sure, those pictures and videos of the old days which I saw are true somehow and the Americans as well as million fallen soldiers from the South will never ever forget. However, just like any war that happens at any time and in any corner of the world, it’s never good for any party and for any reason. No matter what people from different point of view say and do, war is very, very cruel, destructive and deadly for humanity.

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Ha-noi, the capital of Vietnam is one of the longest witness of this human-made tragedy. Declared its Independence by King Tran Hung Dao in 1012 AD after thousand years of fighting for freedom against China invasion, the Hanois  again, fought with French colony, Japan during II world war, and then the long and brutal American Vietnam war which ended April 30th 1975.

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It has been almost 40 years of hard working and rebuilding the country, and they are doing a very good job I must say. But everywhere we went, we could still see the evidences and remnants of war. The destructions were so massive and severe that it probably will take another 10 years to erase all these scars. The Vietnamese people no matter from North or South (or any where in between the two regions) are very, very hard workers and they are very, very patient and sacrificing . With these ingrained values, I have no doubt that very soon, the country will improve and life will be much better for all of them.

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Beside, it’s a pleasure and excitement to see and watch how these people work with their skillful hands. We find magnificent artworks and beautiful hand crafts every where we turned. Beside art and craft, the city is filled with little restaurants and cafes and tailor shops. People can work anywhere and at any time of the day for very little money. But then, that little money will be spent not for a big TV, or car, or travel, or for any luxurious reason. They mostly will be for simple delicious meals for the family, school and clothes for children, and the taking care of their elderly parents. I know because, as a Vietnamese myself, I and my siblings were trained from very young ages that it is a tradition of thousand years old and we all saw for that day that it is still carried on even in the modern day.

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Ruggero was not impressed much with the North due to the different taste of food and the poor transportations. Yes, it is still very limited and difficult to move around here. Even me and my sisters were frustrated and scared of the bumpy roads as we traveled from city to city. But for us, to be able to set our feet on Ha-noi and saw for ourselves after all these years, it was satisfying and concluding at last.

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