More travels around
Yesterday was cold. Really cold with showers, a
One of the differences between
now -1C there!
Another difference between
Space there is constricted, and if everybody honks all the time it is to avoid collisions in those blind angles. Certain motor scooter gestures are not needed here, like that
Yesterday was cold and wet, but the day before was another day in paradise. I had a cancelled class and so drove out from behind the Mythical College Where I Work and entered into village life. Right there, before my very eyes the city turned into the country. These pictures were taken within the city. It would be the
Time stands still. Bridges span foul-smelling canals. You can stop at a roadside restaurant and have some soup. Around a blushing corner will sit a temple all of majesty, part of it falling apart and part of it being rebuilt.
I have stopped using my i-pod when motoring. It is dangerous and also cuts me off from the classic throb of the motor. The thing is ancient and deserves to be listened to, like somebody else’s grandmother. The scooter in the photo is not mine, by the way. Mine is in the shop and this one is on loan from my mechanic. If ever you are in need of a damned good English speaking mechanic and are in the area of the Singapore Embassy, give Lay a call at 369 9991
And so two days ago I just rode and rode until hunger made me stop and then I rode some more. I don’t use a compass and I had no idea where I was. The secret of a perfect day of discovery is to follow your nose, let the hum of the motor and the wink of a rice paddy tell you where to turn. Every now and then a sign that means absolutely nothing will be in English. Other than that, you are on your own, white boy.
The amazing thing about the people in this neck of the woods is that they will look at you totally stone-faced until you say ‘sabaidee’, and then their faces will open up with recognition and welcome.
To give a rough idea of where these pictures were taken, if you go up Lane Xang past Patouxay and then find some way onto Route 13 South, well, this is left of there. Streets have no names, houses have no numbers. Every now and then a dog will rush out at you. A postman’s delight.
Also, the map is an old French map of the city when it really was only two streets, care of Reb Dovid. It’s the sort of document that makes me dream of a time when
The last two weeks in January the College (nameless to shelter me from the guilty) will be closed and if Marie-Do doesn’t give birth then I will load up my bicycle and head out exploring the countryside north of the city; up the
And so the day wore on, the sun inching its way down towards the uncertain horizon, that flat line I find more beautiful and undulating than any flat line in the world. As the roads became busier with people heading home, the air was filled with the fine red dust of
I finally found an American, ex-Vietnam, who lives up in those sticks for some reason and he showed me the way back home and so slowly and reluctantly I rode toward the city, leaving the time out of time. My scooter slowly blended with all the other scooters and cars and trucks and tuk-tuks. Once again I was part of a flow like the Mighty Mekong and no longer a free particle.
And once again I was able to realize the blessings bestowed upon me, being able to live in this fabulous and wonderful land; this magical Republic. Work is easy and plentiful, my students are hard-working and kind. In my comfortable home live my beautiful adventurous wife and two affectionate and intelligent children.
Zéphyr is in CE2 at the Ecole Hoffet and Maya-Swann is in the Moyenne Section of the kindergarten. I love picking her up at school for the way she drops everything and calls out “Papa!” and comes running into my arms. Zéphyr’s report card was very good, the fruit of hard work and attentive studies. Cléa, the first Hyman in recorded history to have done well at school, is a highly respected speech therapist in
Back at home, the cook cooks, the maid cleans and the gardener gardens. Soon we will start our vegetable patch and are looking forward to welcoming the new baby into our home. We have a guest room.
We even have running water and indoor plumbing!