Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Fried fiddler crabs, cups of rice wine, straw mats, dirt roads, lightning storms, reservoirs, water buffalo, filthy children, teenage parents, purple sweet potatoes, yellow omelets, green fields, salt and MSG, tea after every meal, frighteningly large spiders, bathroom breaks on the side of the road, lots of “Hellos!” and a 13-hour conversation where I could only understand bits and pieces. I feel schizophrenic now.

The photographs above are from wherever I was today. In Son La Province, though we traveled so far I’m not sure if that was still true when we stopped. The roads here are like if you described roads to an alien race that only had large boulders, soft clay and a funny disposition to work with. I half expected a toy train or someone peddling a cloud to pass by. But that never happened.

One Landscape, With Rain

Here are just some random thoughts really. I’m on the road in Son La Province in northwestern Vietnam. I spent 12 hours in a car today. Then I was driven two blocks from my hotel to a restaurant for dinner, where we had to park a block away. The room I’m sleeping in has blue and pink neon lights above the bed. I just noticed.

We got lost a few times driving here from Hanoi. We were searching for houses with no addresses. We’d pull people over on the side of the road and ask where so-and-so lived and almost everyone–if we were close enough–knew who we were talking about. They’d bring us a little closer until they lost the scent, then we’d be passed off to the next person. It went on like that for some time until we were given a phone number. Then it went more quickly.

Moc Chau is apparently well-known for its milk and milk products, so when we passed through, I got a bag of white milk-based candies. It’s like if someone filled a packing peanut with loads of sugar and nuts and then baked it, I imagine. Not entirely terrible. I also saw graffiti in Son La town of a crudely drawn Lamborghini with a buffalo next to it. It rained some earlier. I wanted to sleep but couldn’t. I’m exhausted. So that’s what’s happening now.