It is unusual for a marathon to have the support of the diplomatic community, let alone to have a diplomat as one of its main promoters and contenders, but such is the case with the Vietnam Mountain Marathon in Sapa.
Many expats settle in Vietnam due to the relatively cheap cost of living. Lifestyle versus earning potential makes for places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City an attractive place for foreigners to live.
Thanks initially to the work from Vietnam Vespa Adventures — and of course the Top Gear special with Clarkson et al parading old motorbikes the length and breadth of Vietnam — scooter tours are all the rage in Vietnam. And now a new, fuel-free, drive-it-yourself tour is running out of Hoi An — a tour by electric scooter.
Some abandoned dogs and cats find homes easily. But the hundreds of animals that end up at Tram Cuu Ho Cho Meo Hanoi (Hanoi Pet Rescue) are often more difficult cases: the disabled, the blind, the elderly. Mic has been abused so badly that now he can’t use his legs and one of his shoulders is permanently broken; his back and hips have abscesses inhabited by hundreds of maggots.
On May 7, ARC put up an appeal on its Facebook page: “We desperately need donations if we are to continue the work we do! Any support you can give us will help enormously!”
When looking around the sea of flailing arms and smiling faces donned in rainbow flags and neon clothing, you would be forgiven for assuming the venue were anywhere but Vietnam’s capital city. Yet, in a partnership between CAMA, the American Embassy and a collection of local grassroots LGBT organisations, ASEAN Pride became a reality in Hanoi’s American Club on a hot summer Saturday in May.