Thursday, January 26, 2012
On the Road in Vietnam
As we drove in a mad bus with a madman driver to Halong Bay, we passed some odd sights: at a statue maker shop, a tall Virgin Mary stands next to a fat laughing Buddha. She seems to avert her gaze. At the next statue shop, a Statue of Liberty stands next to a female god. The private homes are long and narrow, designed for avoiding taxes, even in the countryside. The bottom floor of the homes is sometimes a little shop, sometimes an open entrance where motorbikes are parked, and often open to the cold January air. It's interesting to adjust to signs in letters instead of Chinese characters. The mind keeps trying to make sense of the words. One sign you see all over is Chuc Mung Nam Moi, which I assume means happy new year. Everywhere there are red flags either with a gold star or gold hammer and sickle. The countryside is still dotted with rice paddies and workers in conical hats. Halong Bay was misty but beautiful, and in fact, the entire country seems to be enveloped in a mist. I have what I'll call Hanoi Hair. There may be photographic evidence of this later.