Every day I think about Vietnam. I think and Mr. Tam and Mr. Tien. I think about my room that had walls that would swell when it rained hard. I crave my diet of pho tai, bahn mi, chicken and rice, coffee and beers. The HEAT. I miss the heat. I wonder what I will see my next visit. There are a lot of experiences on my Asia travels that I wouldn’t want to repeat, but the overall experience was amazing. I hope to seriously put that trip into some organized form of media, either literally or visually. Considering I lost a lot of photos, I should do something special with what I have. I do regret not having the camera charged at certain times. Thank goodness for the internet.
The image of the dark skin warrior helps me remember Pepper who recently passed away. I want to return to the pagoda in Hue, but now the images are just imprinted on my mind. I am impressed at how I can almost replay any second of my trip at will. It makes it easy to admit that I am happy and excited about the new group of Vietnamese students learning and studying at Intrax. I made friends with a few souls in the last group. I brought them into my house and we shared food. They loved Rufus. I think it is really cool that I get to meet so many different people. Keep it on your vibrations, I get to substitute my first few classes this mid-week. I am so pumped. Send me all that good energy.
A year ago I would sit in an air-conditioned coffee shop surfing the internet to find a place to watch the Rugby World Cup with other English speakers. I tried daily to sooth my nerves and homesickness. My little blue book lost caused me so much heartache. It isn’t until now that I feel like I am ready to pull it out of retirement and use it, but I am considering having all information tattooed on my ribs.
A year ago I was in another world! I was in Vietnam, man! I was somewhere out of this world. My heart beats fast when I think of it. I can romanticize the anguish and frustration I felt. I relish those feelings now. I challenge myself to feel them again, but in totally different situations, with Karli there to talk me down. Being in another world can be intense.
I picked a challenging part of the world. Every layer is full of mystery. It can be hostile without meaning to be and then it can be down right hostile. The way of the world I guess. Besides losing my passport upon entry in Danang I was a blessed traveler. My guardian angel was in the form of a small, round faced, motorbike driver. He wore a blue Hollister tee, white cargo shorts and plastic flip flops. He gave me his card and it read, Mr. Tien Motorbike Tours. The next morning we became brothers. Phone, money, immigration, travel, food, drink and hotel…he hooked this brutha up. I am forever in his debt…
It’s been about a month since I have seen Mr. Tien online. I hope he is busy with motorbike tours. I try not to think of my last moments with the brothers. It was as emotional as walking away from Karli’s side and getting on the plane to leave her. It was so sad. It’s so weird to miss all of those feelings I had while I was going through it. I left a piece of myself in Vietnam. I gave a few pieces away to each new friend I made. I look for an opportunity to reclaim those pieces.
I left a few of those pieces in Thailand too! Aw, I miss me some Kenny Lund. He goes by Ken, but it sounds so stuffy. Hey, he’s a professional, so I understand the change. I always slip back to Kenny. He is one of the sweetest people I know. I miss our Leo conversations as ‘Massage, massage floats up from the street. I don’t miss calculating bahts after finally mastering dong, but I totally miss my cheap chicken wings, pork ribs, fresh fish and fresh fruit. The pineapples are superior to any other in the world. Sorry, Hawaii. Thailand. The home of the daily massage. I hope that they have recovered from the disastrous flooding last year. I hope the road to Zion gets repaired. I wish Garden International School has a great academic year and Mr. Ken finds dramatic success with the kids.
My eyes see double exposure these days, Danang transposed on to San Francisco, I realize I totally missed my Indian summer last year. This year I get to see my Giants succeed as NL champions of the west instead of watching rugby (not hating, totally tolerating) San Francisco is beautiful in its Indian summer. More people are milling around. The street fairs come to a closing of the season and Halloween is in the air. I want to be a bear this year.
I cannot believe it’s been a year. Did I really go to Vietnam? Was I really gone from San Francisco?
Pepper will be sorely missed. He will maintain a status of inspiration. He was a friend, father, mentor and a gentle Sugar Bear.