…we drove north from the lush tropical coastline and cool beaches of Mui Ne into an area that shows the devastation wrought by five years of drought. The barren landscape stretches into a distance distorted by a shimmering heat haze and it is not hard to imagine that we are no longer in Viet Nam but have somehow been transported to the African continent. I comment that it would not surprise me to see an elephant emerge from amongst the dying brown dust covered trees.
In the middle of nowhere we come across a man sweeping the parched ground with his metal detector and I pull our motorbike in to the side of the road. Using a mixture of sign language and our crappy Vietnamese, we ask him if he has had any luck finding anything today and he comes over to show us the most identifiable pieces of his haul, spent bullet casings. The rest are twisted fragments of metal that are most likely the remains of bombs and artillery shells that he sells for the scrap value in order to make a living.
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