just got back from a two day tour of the mekong river delta. aside from the really crappy hotel room ( i was bitten by bugs despite bug spray and because of a door that doesn't seal shut. there were no windows in my room, and the smell of mildew in the bathroom made me ill...), i enjoyed my stay. the nice thing about tour groups for individual travelers is that you actually get to interact with people who may speak english and even better, may be able to have a worthwhile conversation with you. the bad thing is that you're shuttled from place to place, not really understanding what's happening or where you're going. the tour description, with which they lure potential customers, may or may not be realized in real life. you know that wilco line, 'my lies are only wishes'. yeah.
so tomorrow morning i'm going to do a quick final tour of the city, rush back before noon to shower again, then putz around for two more hours, and hitch a cab to the airport to enjoy the air conditioning and loudspeaker announcements. the internet is finally working in this place. i got stuck in the 'luxury suite' because there weren't any other rooms available for sunday night. this is odd because i reserved, or thought i reserved, my regular, cheaper room 5 days ago. another problem in vietnam is that people seem to agree with you, or they seem to be doing what you ask them to, because they smile and nod and say yes. what they actually mean is: a) i don't understand a word you're saying. b) i know what you want me to do but i'm not going to do it because i can't or don't want to. c) i can't make any promises that i'll remember this agreed-upon price or this discussed plan. d) no.
some guy is selling cotton candy on the street corner across from my hotel. the Go 2 Eat bar animated LED lights are blazing away, and some other discotheque is playing U2 really loudly. i think most people only stay two or three days in this city. i can see why.
books read in vietnam:
1. american enclaves by some guy in israel who does american studies. a pretty sorry excuse for
political architectural history.
2. franny and zooey, j.d. salinger (NYC)
3. all the pretty horses, cormac mccarthy (Texas and northern Mexico)
4. in cold blood, truman capote (Kansas, Florida, Mexico, and the Great American West)
5. arthur and george, julian barnes (UK)
6. to the lighthouse, virginia woolf (UK)
movies watched on cable tv:
walk the line
kicking and screaming
the family stone
object of my affection
and many many more that i have already forgotten...