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Exploring The North Before Americans Were Allowed
In 1991, before relationships between Vietnam and the United States were normalized, I had to masquerade as a scientist to enter Hanoi.
Back then, Americans were a novelty. My experiences in North Vietnam are chronicled in the first chapter of Nothing Routine - A Quest for Discovery in Remote and Strange Places.
I'm grateful that I experienced Vietnam before big tourism arrived. It was like sneaking into a place you're not supposed to be, and seeing things that most people hadn't.
It was earthy, raw, and at times, a bit frightening.