The official study trip ended on the 6th February with the journey back from Beijing over Frankfurt to Winterthur. The voyage back was unproblematic and the group arrived safe & sound but exhausted in Winterthur. I wish all those who extend their Asia trip individually e.g. to Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam a safe and inspiring continuation!
With the end of the study trip, we have now time to reflect on all the impressions and insights we got during the past two weeks and I’m looking forward to further discussions. (Sebastian Scheidegger, Sandro Meier, Stephan Bodenmann)
Day 9 started with the familiar bus-ride early in the morning, this time in the direction of Cai Be. Due to the high amount of travellers on the road, as the locals were eager to go to their families for the Chinese New Year’s festival, the traffic was rather slow. The majority of the travellers were on scooters, motorbikes, or a form of this two-wheeled transportation. Some rode alone, in thick sweaters and mouth covers, others consisted of the whole family, father, mother and the child in the middle, few were transporting goods, overloading their bikes with boxes on every surface possible. Unexceptionally, all riders wore helmets. Along the streets one notices the poverty reflected in the shabby shacks and run down shops. Nonetheless, they exuded charm and colors from every corner. Once in a while one would see a luxurious villa amidst it all, representing the huge difference in wealth. Either way, the red communist Vietnamese flag with the yellow star was a common denominator along the streets. For resting possibilities, the coffee shops on the sides of the roads offered a relaxing break, with hammocks integrated. “Does one have to pay for the hammock services?” asked a fellow bus-rider. “No,” Nguyen Ngoc Thang, our tour-guide, answered, “the hammocks are free.” Continue reading →