I remember the cool, calm evenings in Vietnam like I never left – many times, I wish I hadn’t.
Long dusty roads, the landscape broken up occasionally by a scattering of bright blue plastic chairs that furnish the informal bars, the side of the road dotted with chickens, a few kids playing and the occasional wandering nu xe om – or, quite literally, “motorbike girl.”
Equally memorable is that sense of helplessness as I watched young women and girls being harassed, exploited by older men and solicited by Westerners in whom they had no interest, but equally had no choice other than to “entertain” for the sake of their jobs.
These experiences are burnt into my memory, visceral and raw, I can still smell the smokey barbecue restaurants where groups of older men would yell and laugh at the young beer girls as they scurried to serve them for what…
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