Friday, December 12, 2008
Odd, But True
My visa in Vietnam has been extended, so now I am not under time constrictions for my visit. This afternoon I fly from Nha Trang to Hanoi. I am told the weather there is colder and it has been raining. Okay, it is all part of THE DREAM, which is giving me everything I need. So is the chest-cold I contracted in Saigon and have had all the time I have been in Nha Trang. And this was just after I bragged to my friend Hang (who had a chest cold) that I could not catch a cold because I never get sick. Here in Nha Trang, Trinh got me an appointment with a Vietnamese doctor who speaks English who prescribed some medicines and now I am recovering. For the most part, this week I have been lying low in my hotel. I have been around on the motorbike I rented and bought more silk items. The beaches are beautiful, and if not for my cold, I would have gone swimming in the ocean. I have been to Trinh’s family’s home several times for socializing and lavish meals that her mother prepared. The food is virtually fat free and delicious. Last night, a big pot sat on a hotplate in the middle of the table and we first cooked and ate fresh squid, then jumbo shrimp, and last, beef and broccoli with steamed rice. Always, there are tasty sauces to dip into. Chopsticks are normal, except with soups, but knife and fork are offered. A big reason the people in Asia are attractive is that everyone is trim. They look healthy and show good figures. (As for me, I am now pulling back four notches further on my belt since I left the USA.) I have also been enjoying the broad faces with high cheekbones, black hair, slanted eyes, broad noses and full lips. Especialy beautiful when all this is combined with a beaming smile.
I have to say a few words about my trustworthy travel gear. For over ten months I have been traveling with two suitcases and nothing else. I have lost things, stuff has worn out and been thrown away, and things have broken or been abandoned. The best is still with me: my Clark shoes which I have owned for about four years have probably walked around the earth by now and still feel comfortable. They have been in marble-floored museums and also stuck in jungle mud, but they keep serving me. In Santa Fe, before I left, I bought an Eagle Creek suitcase that has wheels, is rugged, can be worn on my back, and comes apart into two pieces so I can use the smaller section as a backpack. It fits in the overhead bin of the airplanes and has endured quite well. My other standard suitcase, a Samsonite, has been on many trips besides this world tour and has taken an extreme beating but continues to be durable. The handle extends and contracts, it has not ripped or torn, the zippers work and nothing is broken. My Nikon D200 camera has been bounced around and in all kinds of weather but continues functioning well. My only problem has been specks of dust that sometimes get inside, but I have been able to get it cleaned. Last, but not least, my Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer, which is essential for my websites, E-mails, online bookings, bookkeeping, personal records, music, photography . . . so many things, is excellent. It has stayed with me on airplanes and boats, in hotels and on Safari, been jostled and violently shaken, subjected to many temperatures, turned on for days at a time, and dropped on a hard airport floor and bent so the CD player does not work, but it keeps doing what I need, for which I am very grateful.
I must say that it is funny seeing so many plastic Christmas trees and holiday decorations at shops in Vietnam. The same with Thailand. These are not Christian nations and Vietnam is socialist. Often too, familiar Christmas carols are being played in the background. Odd, but true.
Let us see what Hanoi is like.