Deep Breaths. Vietnam, your humid tropical ocean air smells heavenly. Walking through a market of colors and chaos, this is what I love. No concrete, just dirt and freshness. I buy lychees and mangosteens. The lady sees my tattoos and grabs my wrist. I tell her “reir” means “to laugh” in Spanish and she takes a pen and paper and writes it down. A lady on a scooter pulls ip to the stand with two kids on the back. She gets a bag of mangos. A taxi dropped me off, but I decide to walk back to the hotel to take in the sites of people going about on a Saturday morning, and take moments to read what I don’t understand and breathe air whose scent and flavor is unexpected.
I sit in a garden cafe and think I feel more myself in a place I don’t know, eating food prepared by smiling faces and exotic accents, and drinking the best coffee of life. Vietnamese coffee, you have my heart. I ordered (My Quang) Vietnamese noodles with spices, herbs, beef, eggs, and peanuts in a mild broth with an iced coffee.
And I begin to relax and unwind, my mind clears and my words flow.
For some reason as I sit the tune from “Beauty and the Beast” enters. I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want more that I can tell.
And I got it. In the most everyday appreciations, in places I thought I could only dream about. It’s in the street signs of accents and characters, the sign-language mime language I’ve adopted, the lush gardens and palm trees, the low roar of motorbikes and intuitions of drivers letting me cross the street, the sweet iced Vietnamese coffee and the shyness of the staff trying to use their English to help me, its the crash of the waves against the sand of a dozen different shades of blues, greens, and grays.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, pace, and routine… and that’s what I got during this brief getaway to Danang. Even though the hotel and beach were crowded with tourists and the weekend went too fast for adequate exploring, the escape from the concrete jungle was welcomed.
***After this hiatus of writing, I reflect on my notes I wrote on a hotel notepad. This trip to Danang, Vietnam was taken in May 2017 during a long weekend holiday for Dragon Boat Festival. And somehow time gets away and I’ve been in a writer’s funk, but on this sweltering summer day in Shanghai, I catch up on the past few months of travel and life.***