And who would like to volunteer for the Halloween committee? asks my principal at the staff meeting. Simultaneously every American hand in the room goes up.
One Aussie bravely offers, I could, um, help with the, um, apple game?
We can’t help but laugh a little under our breaths. That’s alright, mate, go back to shrimp on the barbey. We’ve got this one covered. Our principal nods understandingly. Best leave Halloween to the Yanks.
Although PC dictates the world around us, there is a time and place to say the real, startling truth. So here it goes: Americans are the best Halloween party planners in the world.
Yes, folks, there’s a typhoon headed our way…again. Da Nang, Vietnam is forecast to be rocked by Mother Nature in T-minus five hours. And I’m ready. A few weeks ago there was rumor of a typhoon (complete with much stocking up of canned goods and beer) only for it to fizzle into heavy rain by the time it reached the coast. For most people, this is a good thing, but I was disappointed. I had been looking forward to sending home harrowing stories of swimming through city streets.
Having never actually been in a typhoon I assume they are a fun excuse to cuddle up indoors for a few days and then awaken to a wonderful new world of romantic canals and impromptu gondolas. I imagine calling for a canoe to paddle me around town once the storm is over. There might even be a parasol involved. And all the while that I am living comfortably in my post-typhoon water world I will be earning bragging rights for surviving a natural disaster. It’s surely a win-win.
Love is mandatory in Vietnam. While places like Vegas and Rio beckon you to the glitter of singledom, Da Nang is decidedly monogamous. Just ask any of the trillion couples camped out along the Da Nang promenade oblivious to the roar of scooters, children and dogs around them. Their love blinds them from remembering to look before they cross the street – or look before they walk straight into me. But I don’t mind being stopped in the name of love.
After all there is nothing quite so beautiful as love in a time of karaoke.
More and more people are choosing to take cooking classes when they travel. The sheer number of misspelled Cooking School signs around Da Nang, Vietnam gives me the idea that Vietnamese cooking is hot on the culinary scene. So, being a sheep, I have joined in the foodie addiction splendour – I am officially going to take a Vietnamese cooking class.
A few weeks late, but fantastic nonetheless.
Remember how excited you used to get for show and tell at school? Or how you’d jump around when your mom brought in class cupcakes for your birthday? Remember how amazing it was when the teacher would let you use the glitter markers? Or make you line leader for the day? Now imagine being a nine-year-old once again and welcoming a surprise visitor. No, he’s not the principal, or somebody’s dad. He’s a dragon – a dancing lion dragon who does gymnastics on teeny, tiny suspended discs and then wiggles his dragon butt when you pet him.
Ahhhh!!!! Best day ever!!!!!!!!!
Speaking of the people you meet when you travel…
I don’t usually take pictures of random people but this fine chap insisted – because he wanted to see the picture afterwards. Anyway this sums up a whole other side of Vietnam, one that’s not a gorgeous beach or an ornate building. Here’s real life Vietnam, smiling for the camera.
Isn’t it wonderful to travel to new places? Isn’t it divine to climb new mountains, explore unknown caves and walk along the shores of foreign beaches?
Sure. But it can be lonely. Coming to a new place means leaving behind all familiarities, from well-loved family members to delicious Ranch dressing. Travel guarantees moments of awkwardness, discomfort and – above all – a hyper awareness that you are all alone in the great big yonder.
And so it’s great to meet friends.