Welcome 2009—The Year of the Ox. This year hopes to be full of industriousness and I have found the perfect new year’s resolution to match—blog more, much more. Thus far in Vietnam I haven’t written as much as I would have liked and was lowered to jotting down notes before falling asleep, or a quick one-liner in a Microsoft word document. Not too mention the water-logged journal I had to savage after the Halloween floods. I dedicate the rest of this blog to the steadfast ox and the load he bears with my humble words.
Upon returning from the States after a last-minute surprise visit on Christmas to my family, the realization that I actually have a life here in Hanoi makes me a bit uneasy. Or perhaps it’s the reality that I now have the desire and ability to plop myself anywhere in the world and set up camp for myself. And with this reality life continues to simultaneously unravel and create mystery.
Today I am back and after a call to my friend we take lunch at a street stand to digress in a new variation of bun cha, the classic Hanoian specialty. Juicy fatty pieces of pork served in the ubiquitous mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Thin rice noodles and a bountiful plate of mixed fresh herbs aiding in digestion and palette cleanser. I missed the food of Vietnam. While we sit and lunch I trade my battered brown shoes for blue plastic slippers with an entrepreneurial young shoe-shiner. After 10 minutes my worn mary janes are looking brand new. After settling the both bills I realize life is great. A delicious meal and a shoe shine for under $2.
I met the real Mai Trang today. My friend’s uncle is the owner of Khach San Mai Trang- Hotel Mai Trang I stayed at for two weeks and bears its namesake from his daughter, Mai Trang. A very nice, friendly girl and for the sake of her esteem I hope Hotel Mai Trang continues to be a successful business.
I close with a snippet from my current tune on my itunes “Rock and Roll” by Eric Hutchison. Lately, as I have been hopping cultures in the past month (Vietnam, China, USA) life seems to be a simply a matter of doing what you feel and looking around in wonder.
“If he wants to rock he rocks If he wants to roll he rolls He can roll with the punches Long as he feels like he's in control If he wants to stay he stays If he wants to go he goes He doesn't care how he gets there Long as he gets somewhere he knows” –Eric Hutchinson