Monday, December 3, 2007
Also I am interested in what these are? I have only seen them once. looks like lime berries.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Two of the most beautiful, or I should say moving moments, I have had in Vietnam have come just wandering the streets this past week. Both were heart wrenching almost cinematic moments which replay themselves over and over again in my head like I was watching a Iranian movie by Kiarostami, or Makhmalbaf then rewinding it again and again it to my favorite scenes. Except this wasn't a movie but instead real peoples lives which I had brief glimpses into.
The fist occurred when I was riding on the back of a xe om (motorbike taxi). We were on a busy street and I spotted a funeral procession. In Vietnam a small band usually precedes a funeral procession and this procession was no different. The band was sitting on a bench in the back of a small cargo truck playing away and it seemed the van was getting further and further away from the ornately decorated truck which was caring the casket. Soon they were separated by hundreds of cars, and I could barley hear the music playing. Looking at the glossy tear drenched faces of the deceased relatives riding along with the casket it really got to me. There was something about the separation of the musicians from the rest of the procession that made me want to cry. It was such a sad, solemn moment.
The next happened when I was waiting in line at an ATM when I saw an old man with either his daughter or granddaughter. They slowly walked passed on the side of the road briefly stopping for each person, stretching out a frayed hat for donations.. He had on dark sunglasses and a floppy hat, his head was tilted down with one of his hands was on her shoulder as if she was leading him. In his other hand was an old microphone that was attached to what looked like a beat up bullhorn speaker, which was tucked under her arm. From his mouth and out of that speaker came one of the softest most beautiful voices I have ever heard. He was singing what I imagined to have been a sad Vietnamese folksong, slightly distorted and echoey as though it was being sent through some sort of delay or reverb filter. I still hear that voice and I still see them walking.
I don't know how to feel about all this, I feel somewhat like a voyeur into peoples suffering, and people tragedy, but I just can stop thinking about these two moments.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
So after a little investigation I found out about a little Halloween metal concert with a buffet in some sort of community center/gym/pool called the workers club at 55 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. It took the previous day to convince Kate to come along with me though she was still a bit skeptical. (it might have been the buffet which convinced her, not the fact that she was hungry mind you, just the concept of a Metal Buffet). Anyway when we arrived it was everything i had hoped for, old hairy Vietnamese men rocking out on stage and the crowd going wild. After about 5 minutes i was grabbed by this 6'5" shaggy Croatian man who offered me a beer and a few broken English words. the show was exactly what I needed, to get away from ex-pat and backpacker bars that are the only thing around the area which i live and i find pretty depressing. Later we met this guy named Greg who works for the Australian councilate who led us to this other rock bar where all the Vietnamese rocker kids hang out, play shows, and do something which looks like rock n' roll karaoke. He also spoke of some sort of metal arena called "the golden fish" that exists in district 5 on Wednesdays which sounds promising. It was so nice to meet some non teachers, and people that were interested in seeking out the local scene. It made me feel a lot better about living here. amazing what a little metal can do.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I ordered the pho bo kho, a spicy beef pho. The pho itself was ok, full of big chunks of stewed beef and its fatty parts, only a tad spicy so I threw in more peppers and pepper sauce, 'cause thats how I roll. One of the things I am still trying to get use to is the eating of fatty parts, tendons and those small meaty boney pieces. Before I left Seattle, Angela did well to convince me on the virtues of these strange parts and I got in the habit of ordering soft tendons in my pho at Than Brothers whenever I went. It still feels forced thought, its just not my natural inclination to like these things and I definitely do not crave them. I just make do and like the flavors despite the odd parts. Anyway, the most exciting part of the meal was the herb tray to the right of bowl
and this herb in particular. I don't know what it is, but it had this interesting taste that was vaguely familiar, though I couldn't place it. I found it much more interesting than the soup itself which I can still feel my stomach digesting.