05 Dec 2016 14 Comments
It is April 2016. I leave the overwhelming heat of Cambodia by cruising down the Mekong River on a comfortable yet noisy speedboat for three hours and head into the just-as-overwhelming heat of Vietnam. At least it is cooler on the river. The boat pulls to the shore in the middle of nowhere. We step off the boat and trek a few dozen yards to a little ramshackle building tucked into the jungle where a tiny Cambodian man in a tiny hut stamps our exit visas. We walk another few dozen yards up the bank of the river and get our Vietnam visas checked and stamped by a tiny Vietnamese man in a tiny hut, who spends his entire day checking and stamping visas in the middle of the jungle.
We all pile back onto the boat, and a couple of hours later I check into the Floating Hotel in Chau Doc, Vietnam. Right away I meet Steven, the owner of the hotel. Steven is Vietnamese and lived in California for many years before returning to Vietnam in 2003. He has become a successful business owner, having opened the Floating Hotel, two restaurants, and a large tour company, among other ventures.
As we chat, one topic of conversation leads to another, and I end up agreeing to Continue reading