There's just no way to think about the future and get it right. The other night we were all watching "Back to the Future, Part 2" for about the 900th time. I got a chuckle out of the "Surf Vietnam" poster on a wall in 2015 Hill Valley. In the 1980s, when the film was made, the idea of tourism in Vietnam was about as futuristic as flying cars and hoverboards. Somehow I doubt that we'll have flying cars or hoverboards in the next seven years. But Vietnam tourism? Of course. Why not?
Since I got back from my recent trip to Asia I've been armchair-traveling, thinking about how I want to visit Cambodia and Vietnam next time I have a legitimate reason to be in the area (i.e., somebody pays my airfare). Once again Mindy McAdams is ahead of me. She's heading to Vietnam, Cambodia and (of course) Malaysia, and blogging about it.
There is still much grinding poverty in that region, and plenty of casual violation of human rights to criticize, if you want to sit at home and cast stones.
But there's also hope, growth, and a recognition that education and technology are the way to the future.
Cambodia even lets you order your visa electronically and pay the fee with a credit card. In the Open Source spirit, they're asking for volunteers to translate their website into more languages (they already have 25) and they have an official e-visa blog. Angkor Wat has become an international tourist destination.
Just a few years ago, who would have predicted that?