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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Good Bye Vietnam

VIETNAM | Saturday, 21 April 2007 | Views [4257] | Comments [1]

This trip has been the dogs...

This trip has been the dogs...

Wow what a country.  Another one steeped in history and conflict, war is still raging - but it's the ever growing war of communism versus capitalism.  I accept the fact that i will never get used to it; I'm always the wallet, always the one the moto driver calls to and boy would i like to have a conversation with the tourist minister for Vietnam and see how he likes being pestered...and yet i really like this country.  It has a beauty and serenity that strikes a deep chord.  I think it's my extra time here and my little excursions from the 'tourist trail'  that has allowed me to feel this.  It's on the surface far cleaner than Cambodia, and is well set up with lots of tourist sites and National Parks.  There's good cheap food (Cau Lau and fresh pineapple - yum), accommodation is good value for money and transportation is easy and generally not expensive.  It is really well set up for tourists, and yet you can get away from it all if you want.

Yesterday i went for a jog through one of the nearby little villages:

It's just turning to dusk as i start my jog, it's not really cool enough to run but it will have to do.  I choose a route out of Hoi An that will take me into the country, I don't expect to see any tourists on this trail.  I'm continually passed by the ever present scooters and bicycles - no one walks, and most definitely no one runs.  Young and old pass me: the strange and the bizarre.  Moto drivers carrying fridges, small farms or extended families, bicycles with three passengers of which two are pedalling. It still elicits a smile, but nothing surprises me any more - it's all the same same but different.

The men are small yet muscular  and many wear military style green hats, looking like they have just left the gym ready for combat. The women wear timeless conical hats, and cover all their exposed skin with face masks, long gloves and elaborate scarves. 

For the women white is beautiful. 

Sinewy, dark brown and with skin as tough as leather, Grandad walks his buffalo down the road, acknowledging me with a nod and a wide toothless grin.  Grandma is bent over double, weighed down from too much time.  She's lighting incense sticks and making her regular Animistic/Buddhist devotions - just like her Grandma did and her Grandma before her.  The girls are wearing impossibly bright white yet absurdly clean school uniforms.  Chatting continuously, two or three a breast, two or three on a bike - only pausing for a breath to say hello and navigate the unusual - me.  Unseen children and adults call out contagious hello's from the many small houses lining the narrow street.  I call out a never ending reply of hello's, i can't decide whether I'm a celebrity or a freak.  I pass fishermen, up to their thighs in dark water who call out for me to help them, smiling all the time while their friend on the bankside pretends to race me.

It's only a matter of minutes before i reach my halfway point and endless paddy fields.  Delicious hues of green and yellows, surreal and vibrant in the fading light - gently swirling in the breeze.  The water is tantalising calm; it looks cool and refreshing, but the thick, black, earthy mud and the scuttling crabs put me off.  I can hear birds, the sound of a moto horn is only a memory...serenity at last.

I will be back.

Tags: Conclusions?

Comments

1

Looks like a dog's dinner to me. shane: i was thinking of something else when i wrote that...

  Jan Guest Apr 26, 2007 9:26 AM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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