• Short Summary

    These old men were playing badminton right where there used to be bomb shelter. You?

  • Description

    These old men were playing badminton right where there used to be bomb shelter. You never saw this during the war. Look at the face. It says the war's over, doesn't it.

    These kids are taking the short cut to school. you never saw that during the way either. The kids were out in the countryside away from the bombs. There are half a dozen lakes in Hanoi, this one is Sword lake downtown, sort of Hanoi's central park. Vietnamese wave at tv cameras, too.

    And take naps in the park, too.

    In fact, peacetime Hanoi complicates certain stereotypes.

    Would you believe a guitar playing communist soldier. During the war you never see, let alone be able to take his picture.

    Some of the police are still uptight about picture. I don't know why he waved us away, it looked just like a park to me. The barber didn't want his picture taken either. Probably just matter of privacy.

    There is private enterprize, mostly limited to small restaurants, or novelty shops, or street side marketing and there are hundreds of stalls in the huge central market where everything you can think of is sold...except beef...beautiful vegetables. Not much protein.

    And there seemed to be more sellers than buyers when we were there.

    Everybody does early morning exercises and. I mean early, they are up and off to work by six.

    The trolley comes in all the way from the suburbs. I don't know how the trolley survived the war. Three wars, actually it was made before world war I.

    Incidentally, this is what the suburbs look like. They didn't really want us to take pictures here, they're not proud their poverty, so Skip Brown the cameraman snuck this shot.

    It was all right to photograph the small rice paddies on the edge of town.

    Agriculture is the big push under the new five year plan.

    Which is understandable. While we were there, the government admitted ti would be short of rice by 5 million tons this year.

    A lot of things are rationed. Bread, for one. The stopped us in the middle taking pictures of this bread line. They want very much not to be poor, as only 30 years of war can make a people poor.

    They've rebuilt some things.

    They've almost finished the railroad station that was his during the war.

    The government guesthouse where we stayed long with the commission, was built last year. Rooms are airconditioned and have new mosquito netting.

    So they're building some things. Those reinforced bikes that used to carry weapons down the Ho Chi Minh trail are now carrying bricks and tiles.

    Remember during the Christmas bombings when Hanoi complained about Bach Mai hospital being hit, and the defense department said it didn't know of any Bach Mai hospital? It has been rebuilt except for one wing, left as a memorial.

    The Cubans built this flashy hotel a couple of years ago. The Cubans are well liked by the vietnamese. Cuba is small and far away. On the other hand, China is big and right next door, and you don't see the chinese around that you did during the war.

    In fact, driving along with a member of the foreign office, we were talking about regimentation in china, and he said, I hate that, and he spit it out.

    Of course, vietnam is not exactly an open society. They begin young, in the Pioneers, learning physical and political fitness.

    They live controlled lives, but in Hanoi anyway, they don't seem cowed. They laugh at themselves and with others.

    When the State Department left President Carte's letter to Premier Pham van Dong in the hotel and had to fetching the middle of the conversation, he laughed and said "well make mistakes."
    Pham van Dong realy turned on the charm. The whole govt. did, especially with the musicale the last night.

    This was big night for these kids, like a command performance at the white house, dancing for all their own big shots plus the foreigners and they were nervous back stage, like anyone else.

    the rest of this scrap book is miscellaneous: Kids fishing in the lake. A policeman talking to a pretty girl.

    The circus whose only animals were posters.

    The circus wasn't open.

    And some kidding around, on the side.

    The reporters left off steam in Laos, that's Strobe Talbott of Time, being snapped by Dick Growald of UPI.

    Growald, who kept saying he had ceased to be a reporter and considered himself and literary gent.

    The chilly atmosphere in Laos after the cordial one in Hanoi.

    The photo session with President Soupho navong, dead silence while reporters were present, Souphonavong looking straight ahead, Leonard Woodcock looking expectantly across the space between them. Souphanavong is only a front man, anyway the real power is held by others.

    The atmosphere changed that night anyway, with dinner and entertainment which included the commission doing a courtesy dance with the entertainers.

    That was about the end of the trip and when Woodcock finished the second obligator dance, he looked at me without intending to make any summation at all, and said, "crazy man."

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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