This was a fulfilling way to dig a little deeper into the culture - beyond the tourist scene. We made friends with teachers, students, school office staff and ordinary folks in the sidewalk cafes. The service project - helping youth improve their English speaking skills at a local school - was very fun and fulfilling. The kids are smart, caring and enthusiastic. There always seemed to be a vibe of positive energy and friendliness in the people we met in Hanoi. They live fully. As a former '60s peacenik and Vietnam war protester, I was so happy to experience this ancient, beautiful country in such a new and life-affirming way.