Oct.28 – Day 8 – Halong bay, Vietnam – We are in the north at the beautiful coastline and can see hundreds of small islands off in the distance. This is Halong Bay. We took a power boat out to a dock near a floating village just a short distance from the pier.
We were rowed out to the village by very capable women who have done this for ever. It is a way to augment their income. We see the children seated on the porches and the men fixing their large fishing nets. The fresh water man has arrived on his boat and is pumping drinking water to each house’s blue barrel or to one on their boat.
These people fish here and then go into town to sell their catches. It is a hard life, but they have never known anything different. They have television, I’m sure and see how others live yet they remain here. Perhaps they can’t afford to leave, or perhaps they are accustomed to their lives and find them as pleasant and rewarding as we find ours. You cannot base your ideas of happiness on our standards. Try to think about the trials and tribulations we have to deal with and compare them to these fishermen who have no mortgages, auto insurance needs or similar problems.
Are they free? No. Are they happy? Perhaps. Perhaps they measure happiness in a different way than we do. Their children seem well fed and they go to school and the men have meaning full work. It isn’t a perfect life, but ours is seldom perfect either.
You can’t use our lives and material riches to judge another culture. It just doesn’t work. If a man makes a hundred dollars a month and has no mortgage, no rent and no monthly costs other than fuel, food and clothing, perhaps he is well off by his standards.
We live in a fantasy world for the most part. Our country is nothing like most of the world. By the way, there is no health insurance in any of these three communist counties and it is very expensive to get medical care. Just a point to ponder.
Look for my novel, “The Adventures of the Smith Family” and others on my website or Amazon. They are written by me, R. C. Hand.