"are you from vietnam?"

i officially look vietnamese. when i was travelling around vietnam, i could still brush the question aside as a polite one, you know, a "you're one of us" kind of nice, friendly comment. at subway today, however, this was corroborated by the vietnamese sandwich-maker (no, he's not a machine, there are some things you can't substitute capital for). that includes being able to remember what vegetables i wanted while the bread was toasting in the oven. but i know. i really look vietnamese because i'm yellow and tiny and don't wear glasses. if ever you needed evidence that spectacles are not necessary, visit vietnam. opticians go bust there.

i miss vietnam. i miss the sticky heat, the dynamism, the lakeside of hanoi. i hated hanoi a bit because i thought many people were trying to rip us off, even for the roll of bread. in retrospect though, it was something like 15 us cents rather than 10 for a roll, 3 USD instead of 2 for the room etc...but it was a matter of principle. Here is a country unused to markets. Essential that they develop the right way, that capitalism isn't about getting rich trying to rip people off.

but not everyone was like that. i was impressed by the girls wearing their ao dais on bicycles, the pho bo, soya bean milk that still came in bottles. a general clean, healthy place, something which communist countries seem to do so well. people waking up in the morning for exercise. an artistic people, always some painter somewhere, a tradition of artisans, how their baskets were weaved... of course the north was far more rural. very green, and do they have stories to tell. it's magic, so i guess they fought like it wasn't just some clump of forest to be napalmed. expecting more french speaking people but they're all eager to learn english because it is the language of the future and of prosperity. the desert with 6 different kinds of sticky and sweet things in them.

i am proud to look vietnamese=)

it snowed pretty much today. too.

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