More Cultural Reflections

I have spent the last week still sick from whatever bug I picked up in Vietnam.

I began my travel blogs with a post from the Korean airport about cultural differences. I don’t think anything could have better highlighted such differences than seeking medical help in Vietnam and Korea before returning home to the U.S.

On my last day in Vietnam, the concierge of my hotel in Hanoi directed me to a clinic down the street. When I got there, the door was locked, even though the sign in the window said “open” and I could clearly see someone sitting behind a desk inside. I knocked a few times and was about to give up when the figure inside stirred, then slowly made its way to the door to let me in. The door opened, and I stepped into a shabby but clean room with a desk piled with books, two chairs, and a cabinet stacked with drug samples. The doctor was a small woman wearing a labcoat and slippers embroidered with the logo of the Daewoo hotel (where I happened to be staying). She had clearly been sleeping.

She spoke little English, so we had difficulty communicating. But her eyes lit up when I said the word “stomach,” and she said, “Okay, okay, I help.” She opened a paperback volume on her desk and ran her finger down the page until stopping, reading something, and then slamming the book shut. She then dug through the pile of samples on the cabinet and eventually found two bubble packs of pills. I paid about $4 and left with two prescriptions that I had no idea how to take. I realized as I left that she hadn’t taken my temperature.

Later, in my hotel room, I looked up the names of the prescriptions online. Both packages were in French, so it took quite a while to find information on them in English. In the process, I realized one had already expired. Online searching revealed that both were widely regarded as placebos and could cause fairly severe side effects. I decided not to take them.

I hesitate to draw conclusions based on my experience at a single clinic, but I got the overwhelming impression while staying there that we were acting out a scene from a bad American medical drama. The props (labcoat, drugs, manuals), characters (doctor, patient), and language (“stomach”) were all present, but were only symbolic as linguistic and cultural barriers prevented a substantive exchange.

In a cab on the way to the airport several hours later, my Vietnamese host suggested that my illness was caused by an internal imbalance between yin and yang; constant travel, unusual sleep schedules, and being away from my husband had disrupted the harmony of my body and caused illness. He made a sharp, chopping motion on my neck and back to restore balance, recounting times he had used this massage to help other visitors to Vietnam suffering a similar affliction. (Most interestingly, he had given the same massage to Emily Morrison, the daughter of Norman Morrison, the Quaker who famously set himself ablaze beneath McNamara’s window at the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam war. During Emily’s first visit to Vietnam, she became quite ill at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, but her symptoms were eased by the same massage I was receiving.)

This massage seemed no less plausible a treatment than expired French placebos, and I gladly submitted to my host’s almost painful chopping at my back and neck. I suppose I was hopeful not only that my queasiness would subside, but that I would also witness some sort of triumph of traditional Vietnamese medical practices over a Vietnamese attempt to mimic American medicine (as I thought I’d seen in the clinic). I confess I’ve become a little skeptical about American medicine lately, particularly its propensity to medicate every conceivable condition – for example, this weekend I saw a commercial for a drug to help “restless leg syndrome.”

However, by the time I landed in Seoul, I was feeling terrible. The Seoul airport has a hospital in its basement, and an airport employee kindly wrote for me in Korean on a scrap of paper, “I want to go to the hospital.” I showed this paper to every official I encountered on my way to the hospital – which, it turns out, required leaving the airport altogether – and it seemed to convince customs, passport control, and airport security that I required no special scrutiny. Once in the hospital, my experience was remarkably similar to that in Vietnam, despite the significantly more sterile environment. Once again, I was given two prescriptions that I could not read and did not know how to take. This time, frightened by the prospect of feeling sick for an entire 13 hour flight, I took both before boarding my plane to the U.S. and hoped for the best.

As much as I wished to understand Vietnamese medical beliefs, I am American, and I was relieved to finally arrive in Atlanta and visit the airport clinic. There, I could communicate in English; the doctor acted predictably aloof and technical; and the treatment, an IV, was thoroughly communicated and matter-of-factly administered. The experience lacked the novelty and personal nature of my taxicab massage in Vietnam, but it was effective and, for all its sterile detachment, comforting.

It is strange enough to step inside another culture’s concept of health and medicine, stranger still to do so without any means to communicate about that concept. So I left Vietnam much the way I entered it: reflecting on cultural assumptions and differences, this time made much more immediate and personal as my physical well-being depended on successfully negotiating those differences.

(If you are at all interested in this topic, please read Ann Fadiman’s wonderful book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about a family of Lao Hmong refugees seeking medical attention in the U.S.)

Lying in bed all week gave me plenty of time to reflect, and now that I am feeling better (i.e., I can type without feeling nauseated), I have some final thoughts on Vietnam that I hope to type today or tomorrow.


Share Your Travel Experiences With Your Loved Ones

As a young global citizen there is no more exciting way to learn about the world we live in and the lives of other citizens, like traveling. People travel for many different reasons, with many different interests, in many different ways. When you go out, you get the opportunity to increase your knowledge, to learn about language, culture, traditions, dresses, and lifestyle of different areas.

Nowadays, video is one of the most powerful tools to preserve all cherished memories. Most people enjoy traveling and they want to preserve all those cherished memories.

Agriya Infoway, a Chennai based software company has developed an excellent product called Rayzz- a video sharing script which is dedicated to travelers.

Using Rayzz, webmasters can form a site for people who are really interested in traveling and allow them to share their travel experience with others. Members can capture videos of admirable moments and the good times they’ve shared with family and friends in the various places they visited and share them with other members � no matter where they are in the world.

Members can participate in discussions on any subject through forums and blogs. They can share any valuable information about traveling; for instance, if they are going to travel abroad, information like how to arrange for tickets, where to exchange their money to the local currency of the country, visa requirements and so on. They can also share the photos they love with other members and make new friends with other travelers on site. Members can post articles about any subject like popular holiday tourist spots, things to remember while traveling, women health issues while traveling etc.

Travel agencies can provide a lot of information about their services through video presentations like transportation, accommodation, tour packages, etc. it is sure to make a lasting impressions among travelers and increase the likelihood of booking.�

travel reviews

Explore The Hills of India

Hill stations are known for their scenic beauty and natural environment. They are always preferred by the tourists rather than any other tourist location. Tourists generally come to India to view its heritage beauty which includes monuments, its scenic beauty which include beaches and hill stations. These are main source of tourism in India. To get rid of the scorching heat of summer people in India generally prefer to spend their summer holidays at a hill station. Hill stations in India are one of the major sources of tourism.

There are many hill stations in India. The most famous one is the Kashmir valley. Not only the domestic tourists but the people from abroad also like to visit this place. Not only Kashmir valley, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and even kerala have a lot to offer. Though Kashmir valley has been titled as paradise on earth but the other states are no less. There are many places in Rajasthan for example Mount Abu in Rajasthan is one of the famous hill stations in India. Shimla, Dalhousie, dharamshala and chamba in Himachal Pradesh have an equal popularity in comparison with others. Mussorie, dehradun, Nainital, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, are some of the hill stations in Uttarakhand.

Many tour and travel agencies offer a variety of holiday packages to the above mentioned destinations. These can be found under the heading trip to hills of Himachal Pradesh, travel to Uttarakhand hill stations, Tamil Nadu hill stations travel package, Kerela hills travel package. Many tour and travel agencies have an online platform where a tourist can find the appropriate package according to his comfort and budget. These online platforms have helped many tourists in there package selection as now travelling is a much easier task. The charges of the various packages offered by the agencies may differ because of the facility offered in the package. A tourist can select a particular package according to his interest. Hill stations in India are a total holiday package.

As India is the land of diversities so are the hill stations in India. Jammu and Kashmir offers the most exotic locations in India. Srinagar, Kashmir valley, Leh, Ladakh, Gulmarg have a scintillating appearance which is enough to declare Jammu and Kashmir as the paradise of India. Due to terrorists activities in these region people are afraid to go there but still this does not reduce its popularity. Himachal Pradesh is yet another state which has a lot to offer. Shimla, Dalhousie, dharamshala and many more are famous honeymoon destinations in India. There are various packages available online which offer a trip to hills of Himachal Pradesh. Travel to these hills is best preferred in winter season when the hills are covered with snow which gives these hills an awesome appearance or an appearance to die for. South India is no less in offering scenic beauty in terms of a hill station. Kodaikanal, Anantagiri hills, Araku valley are some of the unexplored destinations of south India. They are capable of creating an imprint in the mind of a tourist but they still need to be known widely.


Holidays in Caribbean Barbados

Barbados is also famous for its vibrant night-life. When the sun sets and the beaches clear, the clubs and night zones spring into life with the island’s pulsating exciting rhythms. Barbados by night is lively. Enjoy an early evening with a spectacular, colorful dinner-show like the Bajan Roots and Rhythms Show or a sunset cruise under romantic starry skies. For a truly local experience: fresh cooked fish, lively music, great atmosphere, visit Oistins a fishing town on the South Coast of the island, for the weekend Fish Fry. Bars, pubs, sports bars, jazz clubs, floor shows, theater, drive- in- cinema are but a few of the choices of night life activities on this very diverse island. For more information visit !

Barbados is an entertaining and lively island with plenty to keep you busy no matter how long is your stay. Whether you’re looking for lazy days on peaceful sun-drenched beaches, while sipping a tropical cocktail, or an exciting and adventurous day enjoying many water-sports and beach activities, Barbados caters to all your needs. Enjoy the shimmering, crystal clear waters on a pleasure, walk the plank on a pirate voyage or explore the exotic marine life on a snorkeling trip, a submersible or diving expedition. For more information visit !

Visit Submarine Day Dive. This family friendly, Atlantis Submarine adventure is one of the most unique and highly recommended attractions in Barbados. Imagine yourself in a real submarine, with view ports all around, fully submerged in the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, as curious fish peek in and sea fans sway.

If you like nature, hiking, plants, culture and natural history, then Welchman Hall gully must not be missed as well. It is a place where you can experience a piece of nature and imagine what the island was like 300 years ago. It is a touch of tropical forest, mixed with Barbadian and other exotic tropical plants.

Furthermore, visit Barbados Heritage Tours. Barbados was born from sugar and rum, in the days when pirates roamed the sea, a history rich in wealth and folklore. And I you have very little time, but you still desire to see the most of this beautiful Ireland, check Barbados Sight-Seeing Tours. These tours have been have been designed to give you an extensive insight on the beautiful coastlines and beaches of Barbados in a very little period of time. You’ll see it all and get plenty of opportunities to take some amazing photos!


The Busy Lake District

Lake District attractions are hugely available in this Cumbrian county. From cycling – The Lake District was made for cycling, with challenging off road mountain biking routes to gentle country lanes there is something for everybody

Dramatic Mountain biking over Lake District peaks and rolling valley trails can entice families and committed bikers alike. Walking – The Lake District and Cumbria is the country’s biggest adventure playground and it’s breathtaking.

With England’s five tallest mountains and the deepest and largest lakes, Cumbria’s rich natural environment is simply unique. Being able to explore the great outdoors and discover some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery, whether a seasoned adventurer or wanting to learn the ropes from a qualified guide, there are activities to suit everyone.

All activities available for the sports enthusiast, and not forgetting the lovely Lake itself, the main attraction being the Lake. Stunning views and great food the Lake District things to do is jam packed with fun and exciting activities for all. Enjoying a good book by the Lake side, taking a stroll in Cumbria’s many types of woodland, followed by a sumptuous meal at one of Cumbria’s fantastic eateries. Our fair country is fast becoming known as one the world’s best culinary delights, with our chefs being able to compete with the world’s best, and not forgetting that some of the world’s best chefs are from the United Kingdom. The inspiration needed to produce such culinary delights is readily available by the breath taking views so freely accepted by virtually any window in Cumbria.

Travelling around Cumbria, the Lake District is not an easy choice to make, the original way is walk around and the many benefits of this is not only the exercise, you indeed make sure you don’t miss a thing, being able to walk around you are able to investigate things closer and at your own pace. Cycling through allows you to reach points faster than on foot, again being able to stop at a pleasant point and take in the views.

There’s always the bus, Cumbria provides open top busses so you can take in the views while getting to your destination a bit faster than on foot! And not forgetting the spectacular steam trains, how you get there to see them is your choice but the steam trains will get you to another spot of beauty that would otherwise remain undiscovered on your journey by foot or cycle. So whichever form of transport you choose, car, boat, train, bus, cycle or walk your certain not to miss the beauty the Lake District has to offer. There are steam trains available to ride on and to look at near Newby Bridge, a great day out for the kids, with the weather going as well as it has Cumbria has many attractions available for all tastes, and with this glorious weather we need to get out and enjoy it and where better to go than the Lake District. With the sun beaming on the Lake adding that extra light to things we would normally miss out on viewing. This truly is a gem of a place within the United Kingdom that we need to treasure.