Update! Neil Hannan Of Kenny Lake Reports On This Winter's Humanitarian Trip Back To Vietnam

๐“๐‡๐„ ๐‰๐Ž๐”๐‘๐๐„๐˜ ๐๐„๐†๐ˆ๐๐’  BY NEIL HANNAN  ๐‰๐š๐ง ๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ 21, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’   After visiting with Thong and a Viet Cong veteran for som...

๐“๐‡๐„ ๐‰๐Ž๐”๐‘๐๐„๐˜ ๐๐„๐†๐ˆ๐๐’ 


๐‰๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ 21, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’  

After visiting with Thong and a Viet Cong veteran for some time, I departed Dong Duong Hotel in DaNang at 11:30 AM. Two hours later I was checking into Orchid Hotel in Hue. Within a few minutes of arrival, Khanh (Hearts for Hue) was here to pick me up on his motorbike. We made our way through traffic to meet with his father-in-law, Ha (aka HudaMan). He's one spunky tennis player for 84 and a good-natured fellow. 

Khanh's wife, Trang, joined in the reunion. Around 5 PM I was dropped off by motorbike at the hotel, then walked a a short distance to Madam Thu restaurant. I really like that place. Remembering me from the last trip, the wait staff rushed out to say hi. 

The focus tomorrow is eyeglasses. I'll be ready and waiting when Khanh arrives at 7 AM. At a rural school, I'll personally hand each child his//her first ever pair of glasses. That's going to be really amazing!  Who can't recall the new world that opened up when first looking through their first pair? I certainly do. When that distribution is complete, we'll organize and distribute the 200 pairs of Lions Club glasses, sponsored by Copper River Basin Lions Club, Alaska. Optometrists will be on hand to screen candidates and match eyeglasses to individuals. It's going to be busy day producing smiles!

It's only 9 PM, but I'm going to slide into bed early in an effort to catch up on several days of minimal sleep. I'll be up at 5:30 AM and fired up and ready when Khanh arrives. 

Thanks to all who have made our humanitarian program possible. Helping and healing.

Follow my blog at: hannan2024vietnam.blogspot.com

๐‰๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ”, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’  

Well, following smooth sailing on the Anchorage to Portland flight, things deteriorated rather quickly. 

After boarding in Portland for San Francisco to catch my Taipei flight, I ended up sitting on the parked plane for 3.5 hours, then had to deplane. We were deiced and ready to push off when they discovered a fault with the forward loading door. After a 45-minute repair, we were, again, ready to go. Oops. Due to ice, the runways were closed. So, everybody had to shuffle off the plane and exit security to claim their luggage. After a long hold, I managed to secure an alternate itinerary...Portland to Seattle, then overseas on Asiana. The flight to Seattle would leave at 6 AM, so it would be a night of lugging 100# of luggage (two large suitcases and two daypacks) around and crashing on the floor. No restaurants, nothing. Within 30 minutes of acquiring the new itinerary, the 6 AM flight to Seattle was cancelled. But, I saw that there was another at 8 AM and tried to call Alaska Airlines with hopes of getting on that one. From midnight until 3 AM I tried phoning the airline with zero success. So, when the Alaska Airlines agents starting showing at 3 AM, I got in line. The result was another itinerary. There was just one seat left on a flight to Los Angeles (an airport that sucks like a 50# leech) that evening at 5:30 PM, so I snagged it. But, I had to wait until 1:30 PM to check my luggage and proceed through security. The flight was very late into LAX, forcing me to gallop non-stop 30 minutes to the international terminal. Anyway, I flew Starlux into Taipei, where I landed at 5 AM today. Massive airplane. The Starlux flight into DaNang lands at 5:20 PM, so I'm hanging out again. I should have landed at 9 AM Jan 18, but now it's 5:20 PM Jan 19. Thus, my plans on arrival must be altered. The visits to Thua, Duong, and Lady The's and Sons graves must be delayed until I return to DaNang from Hue and Dong Ha/Nhi Ha. But, that will work out OK.

So, here I am on a bench at Taipei airport, waiting another 7 hours for the flight to DaNang

๐‰๐š๐ง ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ” ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ:๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ ๐€๐Œ (๐€๐ฅ๐š๐ฌ๐ค๐š) ๐€๐ง๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐€๐ข๐ซ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ 
๐‰๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ”, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’  

With a ton of luggage to wrestle, I've finally made it to the gate at Anchorage Airport 2 hours in advance of my flight. The trip will take me to Portland, San Francisco, Taipei, and finally to DaNang at 9 AM Jan 18. The first order of business will be to exchange U.S. currency to Vietnamese dong at Mr. Mann's shop. Then we will arrange a car/driver for the following day.

The trip to see Thua, Duong, and Phung, Lady The's son and Son's brother, consumes most of a day. It was from Lady The's hooch that I carried the wounded Son to safety in late-Feb '68. Finding Son down in 2010 was amazing. What a reunion! After carrying her to LZ Colt, I never learned if she had even survived. But, now Son and her mother are both gone. I will ask Phung to escort us to their graves.

For now the focus is getting to Vietnam. I wasn't so excited about doing so as a young infantryman in Feb '68. I looked like a damn kid on stepping off the plane at Chu Lai Airbase. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then.

Neil Hannan, 1968, Arriving in Vietnam 

I will try to create blog posts each day. You can follow the humanitarian adventure at: 


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