Friday, October 10, 2008
Vietnam's Central Coastline
Just north of Hoi An we visited Marble Moutain, a small town teaming with scores of marble workers and their shops. Our stop in a very unassuming corner cafe turned out to be one of our most affecting encoutners. Charlie Hattling an American Vietnam War veteran joined us and honored us with his compelling story captivating us for hours on the details of his experience. Stationed not far from Marble Mountain he had returned to Vietnam multiple times to help put this part of his past behind him; befriending once Viet Cong locals and memorializing the images of his friends that had passed in the fighting in marble. Just this visit he was reunited with a girl he had once given 20 cents to buy clothes with. The last survivor in his mess of photographs from that time she remembered him promising to return and always thought of him as her boyfriend because of his rare kindness. His knowledge and experience has injected an added color and life into our experience of this country and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to meet and call him friend.