I can’t say what made me fall in love with Vietnam.
That a woman’s voice can drug you? That everything is so intense, the colours, the taste, even the rain?
‘Nothing like the filthy rain in London.’
They say whatever you’re looking for you will find here.
They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes. But the rest has got to be lived.
The smell, that’s the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul.
And the heat. Your shirt is straight away a rag. You can hardly remember your name,or what you came to escape from.
But at night, there’s a breeze.
The river is beautiful. You could be forgiven for thinking there was no war, that the gunshots were fireworks, that only pleasure matters.
Graham Greene by way of Thomas Fowler in “The Quiet American.”
As our plane landed, this is what the windo quickly looked like:
He wasn’t kidding about the heat and humidity.
It took a bit of hand gesturing but I figured out where to get my visa on arrival.
I stopped at a Citi ATM to get some local currency. A million here, a million there and you start getting into some real money…
The roaming charges on Sprint turned out to be pricier than I wanted (who am I kidding? If it’s more than free roaming I don’t want it!).
But I found some free WiFi and booked a tour for this morning out to the Cu Chi Tunnels. I opted to list the Hotel Continental as my pickup point, figuring folks would probably know that…
But when I said the name to my cab driver I wound up here (it DOES have the word Continental in it…):
The place I wanted was just a few blocks away so I hoofed it on the streets of Saigon…
And so now here I sit in the lobby hoping my tour group knows where I am. If not, I may be out $26 American…
In the meantime, I bought an 11,000 Viet Dong water; did I mention the humidity? And the heat?
They say you come to Vietnam and understand a lot in a few minutes. The rest has got to be lived.
They say whatever it was you were looking for you will find here.
They say there is a ghost in every house.
And if you can make peace with him, he will stay quiet.