Saturday, March 31, 2012

Something You'd Never See at Home

You'd never see an ad like this in the States because no entertainment establishment would want to show a patron like the one on the right. But hey, people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, whatnot. I think here their message may be designed to attract Westerners rather than the locals. It at least caught our collective Western eyes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Except for Living in a Cave

I sometimes think it might be nice to be a dragon except for the whole living in a cave and sleeping on a pile of treasure thing. And I would not want to be a dragon named Puff either. Maybe I don't want to be a dragon as much as I'd like to have one. Perhaps this is why I think Daenerys Targaryen is one of the more compelling characters in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Watch the Ball

Sometimes a disco ball is all it takes to remind you that the world keeps turning and your best bet is to hold on tightly and try not to fly off. Some days are stranger than others, and there will be still stranger ones to come. Been there, done that. Will be there, will do that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Patchwork!

It's hard not to smile at a scooter covered in patchwork,especially when it involves metallic fabrics. The beer I had just had for lunch probably helped a little, but still, a patchwork scooter cover is pretty damned awesome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Just Paper

No, this is not a real C-note. It's left over from one of the lunar ceremonies at which gifts are sent up to the dearly departed by being burned. This bill must have made a break for it and escaped only to be watered down and end up in the gutter. There are worse ways to go, I guess.

Monday, March 26, 2012


This building made me smile on an altogether too-cold day here in Hue. The 10-day forecast lists no numbers with a number larger than 7 in the 10's place, which is wrong, just wrong.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Only Daughter

We followed these two women around part of the Citadel today. I assume they were sisters in their almost-matching tops and taking photos of each other at each and every stop. At various times in my life I have wished I had a sister. Perhaps I would have been less of a tomboy then. And perhaps not.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Do Love a Good Mystery

Other than the fact that it makes me think, I can offer no good reason for Ernest Hemingway's appearing on a Vietnamese postage stamp. If they showed the two books with their titles translated to Vietnamese, I might think that he is a popular author here. Trying to translate the fine print using my pocket Vietnamese dictionary suggests that the stamp may have been issued last year in recognition of 2011's being the 50th anniversary of Hemingway's death. Other than that, you guess is as good as mine.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lunching Away

This is where I just lunched with the husband. The food was passable. It is hard, after all, to ruin noodles with vegetables. The price was right, too, $7.00 and change for two noodle entrees, two pineapple shakes, and two coffees.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Drink with an Umbrella

Some days you just need a drink with an umbrella even if it's just sweetened tea and totally nonalcoholic. The knotted straw made it even better. Some days that's all it takes to top off the day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some Like It Hot

These snowflakes were hanging in the window at the Hot Tuna, where we ate last night. Earlier, it felt like snow in the hotel room. The AC was cranked up so high to keep someone else comfortable that I was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt, a wool sweater, and a pashmina-silk wrap to stay just barely comfy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some Things Don't Change

The sons and I drank many coffees three years ago at a little cafe beside the Imperial Monument and the Perfume River. They always came with a free cup of green tea. Some things don't change, and that is nice.

Monday, March 19, 2012

And Then There Was This!

There is no sign, in Vietnamese or English, to explain what this is doing near the end of the walk-around at the embroidery workshop. Some things in life are like that, inexplicable. We need more of that in a good way. This guy is definitely that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

On Being Mature about Certain Things

Those are compression-type support socks underneath the orange and pink fun ones. I am following the orders of two doctors and taking no chances with the festering bruise on my left calf. It is hard sometimes to be adult about things, especially for me. I'll let you know if I ever really make it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And a Happy St. Paddy's Day!

The green of these leaves at Bao Quoc Pagoda, one of my favorite places in Hue, seemed appropriate this St. Patrick's Day. I don't expect I'll be drinking green beer tonight, but I might be drinking beer from a green bottle or can. Does that count?

Friday, March 16, 2012

You May Be Right ... I May Be Crazy

I met these naked guys as I was starting this morning's walk. I'd love to have invited one back to the room, but they seemed to be busy. They look to be the strong, silent type.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chicken or Phoenix?

Okay, so it's an inside joke from our Hue trip three years ago. This is not a phoenix. It is a chicken. It appears to have a very cushy living situation at an embroidery workshop here. Were it a phoenix, it could have cushy living situation after cushy living situation, though with fiery moments in between. I think it is happy being a chicken.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Environs

This is my natural habitat for the next almost five weeks. It's a room in the ParkView Hotel in Hue, Vietnam. While the room doesn't yet feel like home, the city does. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When I reach Ho Chi Minh City from the east, I will be able to say that I have traveled around the world, having reached it from the west three years ago. I will again see the moon shine on the other side of the world. The moonshadows look the same there; only the surroundings are different.

Monday, March 12, 2012

And You Thought Daylight Savings Time Shocks the System!

Forget setting your clock ahead one hour. Try crossing the international date line into tomorrow. These two days will meld together into one as we fly over the Pacific from san Francisco to Hong Kong. We'll get the day back on May 1, when we will fly into yesterday on the way from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Travel Wisely

This sage resides on the top of a walking stick I bought in Hue three years ago. I will likely not feel as calm as he looks as this post loads timed to coincide with our departure, but at least I will be underway.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

This is my carry-on bag, packed save for the netbook on which I'm typing this. The suitcase is upstairs, awaiting the pie I baked for younger son this morning. Assuming that fits, and that the pile of stuff on the table fits in the husband's carry-on, we are good to go in tomorrow's very wee hours. Lunch and a pedicure with a friend with whom I have not spent enough time recently have helped to calm my spirit. I will admit here that, in the interests of stress reduction, the posts for the next three days were done several days ago and programmed to post at a relevant time on the appropriate day.
I'll be back to posting soon enough, from the other side of the world.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Half the Clothes and Twice the Money

Possibly the clothes I will be taking on the upcoming trip. "Possibly" in that I may decide to remove some of these, though no new things would replace them. These are hanging in the open after having been sprayed with permethrin, a fairly powerful insect repellant. These clothes were chosen with great care in that I am fully prepared to leave most of them behind in favor of new, tailored things. The two long-sleeved collared shirts and the skirt came from the Goodwill store, for example. I figured that it was time to get the spraying out of the way given that we are leaving in less than 48 hours. I am still trying to decide if my not feeling freaked out is a good thing or a bad thing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Crooked for a Reason

Perhaps if the path to getting this visa had been a straight one, the photo would also be straight. There was some glitch in the authorization number process and we may never have gotten a real one (the one they said was ours was actually in someone else's name), but we got visas. There's a whole hockey-sock (it's a Canadian expression) of things still to do, but the ones that are critical will get done and the ones that don't won't matter. I have spoken.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Do You Spell "Relief"? V-I-S-A-S!

It wasn't clear what I might photograph to illustrate the relief I felt upon hearing that the visas will be issued tomorrow. This is part of the front of our refrigerator. What it has to do with relief is not clear.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No, I Will Not Act My Age, Thank You

So it's more colorful and widespread than it was last night, but at least it's not as swollen out from my leg as it was then. Older son and I were grappling over swords, and his leg hit mine. An orthopedic surgeon who serves on the Electoral Board visited my precinct today (I was working at a presidential primary) and did a quick consult. Given that I'm leaving Sunday for five weeks in the third world, I will probably see about getting it x-rayed. I should probably also take the rest of this week off from martial arts, too. Yeah, it hurt to type that last sentence.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It Was a Good Idea at the Time

Alas, it appears that the quilt and birthday gift I hoped to take to younger son on our way to Vietnam probably won't fit in my suitcase given the almost 70 t-shirts that the husband will be taking to the students in the Hue program. Yes, that will leave room in the suitcases for things we bring back, but the luggage weight limits are significantly lighter in Asia than they are here. If you're thinking I might be bringing you a gift, you'd best like fabric or jewelry.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

At Least Charlie Feels Ready

I probably should feel more ready. The big thing that has yet to be done, visas, is something over which I have no control. The days are free on which we can drive to the embassy to get our visas; we just need the authorization number from Hue University. I will have time this week to treat my travel wardrobe with permethrin. Although the coastal area of Vietnam is not a malaria zone, it only takes one malaria-laden mosquito to come in on its own sightseeing trip. Breathing deeply now, it will all get done it will all get done it will all...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

No Bad Egg

One more thing to do before leaving for seven weeks: Use up the perishables that the son staying behind might not think to use. I'm making potato salad as part of having my mom over for dinner tomorrow night. It won't use up all the eggs, but it will help.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Through Rose-Colored Glasses

I have a love-hate relationship with my glasses. Wearing them, I can read and drive and generally function very well in the world. Without them, I can look at myself in the mirror and see a face without wrinkled smile lines and a waist that blends softly into some hips. I think I'll choose function over form, at least today.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Okay, I'm Lazy Today

This is another old photo, that I took in 2007 at the National Zoo. It's a gorilla, and I like gorillas and other great apes ... and most other primates. In that regard, the photo meets the criterion of saying something about me. Yes, that I'm feeling lazy today, and that I like gorillas.