Wednesday, June 18, 2008


There was certainly a haunted and peculiar feeling to last night, punctuated by equally peculiar fish-out-of water alienation--something which, though grown less typical the longer I've lived here,* still waits just around the corner for some surprise opportunity. The haunting began as I looked over the city from my narrow balcony. I was about to have dinner at Au Parc. It was thoroughly raining--I definitely needed an umbrella--and I was considering my destination accordingly: Au Parc is only about three blocks away. Below me, streetlights lit the ghostly and translucent plastic-draped minibike motorists which, in turn, reflected along the wet spikes of Reunification Park's iron fence. Because of this glowing traffic motion, and the intermittent nature of each passing reflection, the individual flashes coalesced into animated wraiths which looked for all the world like they were passing swiftly through the plants on the far side of the wall. Later, after dinner, I had a typically awkward culture-gap exchange with the sweet German Bettie Page-type who manages Au Parc: I made a passing comment she was supposed to understand--her English is perfect--but she reacted in such a mystifying way I knew I’d been babbling. The smile-and-nod someone might return in a room too loud for people to bother repeating themselves. I think she thinks I'm crazy. Outside, the clouds had broken so the full moon could actually illuminate Vietnam's wheeling bats in an old Hollywood way. A Vietnamese woman approached me in the park along Pasteur Street, saying something too quietly for me to hear. She'd been sitting with a friend, but her haunted manner seemed to be offering something illicit: drugs or a back-alley massage. I'm a fish-out-of-water, though--and just maybe I'm crazy--but I responded just like Bettie Page before me. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* Actually, glancing at my watch I see that today it has been exactly eight-months since I arrived in Vietnam. One-third of my time here is already elapsed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:02:00 PM  

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