Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vietnam Vo Dich!

Sunday started out easy enough. I slept in late and then lazed around for a bit before meeting Jessica for lunch at the Uzbekistan Café. Neither Jessica nor I had eaten there before, and it turned out to be really good. Hanoi has been chilly and rainy for about a week, and a warm bowl of Uzbekistani soup was perfect. After lunch it stopped raining and Jessica and I explored the southwest portion of the city by motorbike. We came across the Air Force & Air Defense Museum, which was basically a junkyard full of bullet-ridden American warplanes, Migs flown by Vietnamese pilots, and Soviet air defense weapons. The picture below is of a Soviet surface to air missile.

Three items caught my attention. One was a F-4 (or what I think was an F-4, pictured above). The plane had been almost completely destroyed but by looking at it you could tell that it probably once flew. The two other items that caught my attention were two WWII era anti-aircraft guns, both of which were responsible for shooting down American planes in the Vietnam War. The first gun was a Nazi anti-aircraft gun captured by the Soviets, given to the Chinese after WWII, and finally given to the Vietnamese. The second was an American-made gun given to the Soviets to fight the Japanese, then given to the Chinese by the Soviets, then given to the Vietnamese.

Later that evening, Jessica and I decided to eat Thai food. We left my house and quickly realized something was going on. There were far too many motorbikes on the street for 8:30 pm on Sunday night. It turn out Vietnam was playing Thailand for the ASEAN Championship in soccer (that’s football to most). Vietnam traditionally has had a poor football team and Thailand is usually a regional powerhouse. But this year, after defeating Singapore (another regional powerhouse), Vietnam won the first match against Thailand in Bangkok 2-1. The second game was today in Hanoi and Vietnam pulled off a 1-1 tie. I don’t exactly understand how one win and one tie equates to winning the championship, but even ESPN is reporting it. I didn’t even know ESPN covered soccer.

After we finished eating Thai food, Jessica and I bought some Vietnamese flags and drove around the city with thousands of Vietnamese people chanting Vietnam vo dich!, meaning Vietnam victory!. Most of the Vietnamese out were excited to see two foreigners out waving Vietnamese flags. Most of them made a point of chanting Vietnam vo dich! Vietnam vo dich! with us. It was a crazy sight.


mom said...

Pretty wild.

Anonymous said...

I liked your video. Detroit could teach them how to really celebrate after a big victory. Vietnam was pretty tame compared to when the Pistons won the NBA championship, and their fans burnt down a lot of the city. They called it victorious urban renewal.