Mui Ne and the Environment

I might have spent last weekend lying on a beach under a palm tree drinking mango smoothies and eating really fresh seafood.
I might have been really obnoxious about it to friends and family through postcards and phone calls. I mean really, what better way to spend a mini-spring break?
If it makes you feel any better, I am now covered in bug bites from that trip.
The pictures are on my flickr account, knock yourself out. Still no pictures of me. I tend to avoid such pictures, thank you. Though I will note that *gasp* I have a tan!

The trip was perfect timing. I’ve been kind of down and mopey lately. I couldn’t really tell you why, but it’s involved me doing very little interesting of late. I have noticed, however, how despite the fact that I get Starz, Cinemax, and HBO, the movies all kind of blow. The telling point of all this is the fact that they repeat themselves and play the same movies over and over again. Sometimes you just have to love the parts of American culture that get transplanted.

Mui Ne is a gorgeous little area whose main source of income is tourism. It has sprung up in the past five years as a beach resort town, and with its sand dunes, blue waters, and white beaches, it’s not surprising.
It hit me, sitting on the sand dunes as the sun rose above the dunes and the dunes rapidly filled with bus loads of people, just how all this is affecting the very reason why everyone comes. There are no precautions in place to take care of the environment, and it is the environment is why people come. Five years from now, Mui Ne will be yet another trashed line of beach. Already the garbage is scattered around the beach and the waters, and the water that seeps up from the ground and flows into the ocean is suspect The dunes will be eroded beyond repair by all the people who sled down it, litter it, and the simple fact that hundreds of people every day tread all over it.
Five years from now, what will the people do for a living?
It is one of the more sobering effects of Vietnam’s rapid economic growth. The pollution, wherever there is economic success it seems to come hand in hand with trashing the environment. This isn’t just Southeast Asia – the same can be said of any nation, industrialized or developing. It just breaks my heart to see this country’s natural beauty eroded in such a way.
When do you think they’ll realize it?

I just got an email from Hollins asking me if I intended to return in the fall (I am currently on a leave of absence in order to do this program). They sent it electronically because they first tried it a la USPS and I hadn’t responded… so you know, two weeks before the deadline where they would apparently automatically withdraw me, they send an email. Luckily I have a lot more internet connection than I thought I would, and that I’m in Vietnam and not Cambodia presently, because it is entirely possible that I could go two weeks without checking my email. Beautiful. Sometimes my school makes me want to hit my head against a brick wall. Repeatedly.
I miss Hollins, though. I miss the classes, my professors, and the crazy girls who have my love and thoughts. Not that I want to be in Roanoke right now, but I’d rather have all that here. I don’t think many of them would complain.
We should totally establish a Hollins in Southeast Asia. I can think of several professors off hand that would be thrilled. First, an Asian Studies department. One thing at a time, you know.

I leave for Hanoi tomorrow. I’m looking forward to traveling on my own and exploring a city where apparently the temperature actually gets below 88F (irony: I looked up the weather and lo and behold, one of the days I am there the temperature is 102F, the highest in a two week period! Bugger it all, I’ll never escape it). I am so sick of sweating. It’s not that I even notice anymore that it’s hot. It’s that regardless of how I look at it mentally, 95F and 88%+ humidity is hot. My body lets me know its hot and that I’m a dumb ass for wearing jeans on a pretty regular basis. Mostly, I just hide in my air conditioned room during the heat of the day. So do the locals, though they do not have the luxury of air conditioning. Oh man. Probably the only reason why I’m not in a home stay.That and the call of wireless. I’m a wimp. I can live without both of them, but if I have the option… technology calls.

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