putting out the fire

The Ho Chi Minh City fire department training started at six o’clock this morning right outside my window.

quang nam upriver

I made my escape from the 17 relatives early in the morning on the second day of Tet, jumping on a Honda, headed toward My Son Sanctuary. The site was visually impressive and certainly worth seeing, but it was crawling with people so I didn’t hang around more than a couple hours.

Arrgh! How do I put a linespace here?

I headed toward the Thu Bon river on whatever road I could find going upstream, hugging the river as closely as possible. The pavement quickly turned to dirt as the banks of the river turned to cliffs. The path ended at a small hut where I asked if the road continued. The girl pointed down the cliff. Curious, I left the Honda and scurried down to find an old man in a tiny boat, smoking a cigar and screeching on a three-stringed instrument. He asked if I would like to go out on his boat. Can I bring my Honda? Not if you want the boat to float, he explained. He took me (along with all the kids) upriver, waiting for watering buffalo to climb up the trail before landing. We climbed up under a vine-intertwined brick arch to find Madame Thu Bon’s tomb. More pictures on Facebook.

five minute rule

The lady on the Honda ordered sweet and sour pork to go. The cook dropped a piece of cooked pork, which lay on the ground for a few minutes. The owner subtly picked up the meat and lay it on top of the evening’s lettuce. That piece went first into the to-go bag, followed by most of the rest of the pork. A couple pieces saved to offer with rice to the gods – better not the one that fell on the ground!

two girls three cubs

Two girls in bikinis dance atop three Hondas, celebrating Vietnam’s win against Singapore in the SEA Games Football semi-finals.

việt nam vô địch

Yesterday, Vietnam beat Cambodia to advance to the semifinals. This is the scene directly outside my bedroom window, looking down on Tran Phu street at midnight last night. I was finally able to get to sleep around two o’clock, but awakened before six o’clock this morning by a marching brass funeral band.

crossing the street

Cossing Nguyen Trai Street last night. There was more traffic than usual because Vietnam beat Cambodia and is headed to the semifinals next week.

nguyen trai traffic

Here’s view from my window last night. This is the street I must cross to get to the rib shop. Music is “Flight of the Bumblebee” performed by Rockapella.


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