The Vietnamese are not immune to the joys of life and the beauty of their country. Everywhere I went, I found Vietnamese, like their American counterparts, enjoying the outdoors, laughing with family and friends, and working hard to survive. Because if Vietnam is beautiful, then it's also difficult. It's not a nation that hands out easy livings. Each day, men, women and children work ingeniously to wrest a living from the next 16 or 17 hours.
They have learned to survive. And when a pollster from the government's Institute for Human Studies arrives to ask questions and record answers about support for the Communists, the Vietnamese smile, open the door and welcome the visitor. They know what to say. Here, too, they know how to survive.