Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear Friend,

Right so where was I?
There was a frenetic amount of activity followed by more activity. Oh and then I woke up realized I'd been bitten by a tick. Mother-cusser. Who the cuss knows where it came from except that it was latched on under my armpit. It still hurts by the way. It was a tiny little cusser too. I ripped it right off and popped it btw my thumb and forefinger. Cusser! Luckily there was not much blood and it was still pretty small. So I can't say how long it'd been there- hopefully not long?

So yes, after that Cath kicked up some good emails to agoda for such a shit recommendation. Although shame for LP too. Well we can't have it all. We can't trace the tick can we? The CA guesthouse which as a chill vibe as its namesake is filled with drama too- cock fighting in the alley, constant stream of gambling in the kitchen, there was a laptop stolen (not sure by who as we came to check cath out), and then a guy suddenly was moving out the next night which seemed to hint a larger story. Also confusion abounded over paying the driver, laundry and the girl forgot to give me my passport- which I remembered THANK THE LORD, 3 blocks later with my now 19kg pack. Cuss! Total border town feeling.

First order of business smoothies. The woman thought I wanted 3. Which is crazy. Since I came not just the day before and did exactly the same thing. This one was not made with as much love as the other one but guava, passionfruit, and mango- so good. and only a $1. Right so then I made Cath take the bus and there was some map discussion about bus#'s with the attendant. Cath said she was impressed with my determination but it seemed a day to be brave. And we made it to a fairtrade shop where I bought some bits which I wish had had more but it was for a good cause. Now when it comes to a two man team I tend to try for constant negotiation of what to do and how- since I don't need to be the one demanding we do x and y unless I really want to try something. But the uncertainty of where and when was a bit much for cath at one point where I was verbally processing about bus, walk or taxi so she chose taxi. It would've been a 2mile walk and we weren't sure what bus so for $3 or whatever it cost- it was worth it. Next we wandered, got lost, as cath said ignored local advice, reoriented ourselves, and found the rather ominous Jade Emperor Pagoda. I started getting a headache and nothing would induce me to cross the inner threshold. But I did sneak a peek at some rather fierce looking guardians from there and around the side. The day sped by to various stops- and I think overall we walked much less then our first day trek which I estimated covered over 6miles in 93+ degree weather. Sometimes the bus SAVES.

The next day I made contact with the persecuted church. At one point I thought she was referencing lost ships... oh lost sheep! Right. To which she then equally assumed I knew nothing about the bible- but I countered that I heard something rather nautical and not pastoral in her accent. What to do! More on all that in a later letter- but suffice to say we had a good meeting, which consumed all of sunday and the beginning of Monday, and then Cath and me had a very low key last night together in Saigon. We went to a Mexican restaurant. Funny enough. And all went well. besides being grumpy at having lost my lovely travel companion. I soldiered on. Settled my bills, having sampled most of the coffees on TrungNguyen's list including Weasel Coffee, and excepting #3 "idea"... I found ultimately that the #4 coffee "Creation" to be better than #5 "Success". Apropos.

I got out of Saigon but barely as I felt it didn't want to let go of me, the passport for instance, the inability of the taxi driver to make change, shrifting me 10,000 (.50c)- you'd think it's nothing but it adds up, and then of course the tragic swiss army knife lost- I've had since '96. Which means it traveled with me through Europe, Ireland, Turkey, Korea, Cen AM, to be finally consumed by Vietnam. I don't know. It's loss makes me irrationally irritable.

And of course I did all this planning for Vietnam and over today and yesterday have had to rapidly orient myself to Laos. And remind myself I need to adjust as much as I've been plowing through change after change- each country still has a how it's done curve + language, money exchange and hotels and am keeping my eye on the diminishing money vault since I still need to tickethomeit. Which makes me also cranky vacillating between wanting to give up and go home right now to excited and wanting to trek through the jungle. Each experience making me manic in my judgments and attitudes. The hotel, boo. Vietnam was better. The street crepe made with onion, egg and pepper- amazing! I'll stay. The croissant this morning dismal! I want to be back in Saigon. Though since, the pho and the perfect latte are trying to make up for it. I hope to try and go swimming, and tomorrow cycle through town and figure out the next step. That or just calm down and blow away some days. I'm only spending $10 (80,000) each night on the guesthouse now I've moved. and the pho was maybe a $1.5 (15,000). So I'm going to be optimistic that my money will stretch a bit more. I hope?
Whatever. Now i'm rambling. Also I realize I havent' really been describing places well- or have I or just recently. Can you ask me some questions Pen?

Love you from over here,
ps. how's the bells?


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