Ridng 100 miles each on successive days I find a cafe in Dau Tieng and sit and drink Milkfroth. It’s a green drink topped with whisked condensed milk, strawed through ice and it’s heaven. I speak to the assistant but she looks elsewhere for clarification. Even with my babel fish she finds me unintelligible. I wave and point with what I think are reasonable gesticulations - I know what I want - but she doesn't. I am made to feel I have the communication of something single cellular and I get what they think I want and that's fine. Down the road the 'fish lady' want's me take a bag of live sea food
And a few fields later in sight of the border with Cambodia, lovers sit in a country eating place and as I watch them they watch me and I pass and the sounds distort until it all becomes an act of faith. You have to work though every moment as if road life makes you bleed with a cut tin sharp, the kind that makes it hard for blood to congeal. Raw edges of harm, dissolute life, garbage, dirty hopelessness, faces stuck in their grim surroundings, endless exposure to promises of better times as outside me a man rides past slowly, his motorcycle trike loaded with coconuts and bags of cut pineapple hang on metal prongs, all swinging. The red and white painted central reservation makes the town seem orderly, the topiary civilising the street as I leave Vietnam it helps me feel this is a country that cares.
Good Afternoon Vietnam
Map of the Day