Catching a ride, passenger riding backwards on a motorcycle in downtown Saigon, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
It’s Saturday morning, and like many locals I’m heading out for the weekend. Some of them are taking Monday off; Tuesday’s a national holiday, and there’s a whiff of excitement in the air. They say the beaches will be full.
I’m going for people and culture. I’ll be taking a boat cruise to the Mekong Delta, bringing along little more than my camera, mosquito spray, and clothes to spend the night. (A much lighter load than the woman in the picture above.)
So much swirling through my head over here on this side of the world. Yesterday I frantically tried watching Barack Obama’s speech from work, but the video streaming was more like video constipation. Instead, I called home every 15 minutes to get Jim’s impressions. He and the girls watched the whole thing; Em’s fourth-grade teacher assigned it as homework.
I’m at that point in this trip where I long for my home. All of it. Last night a work colleague invited me to dinner at his home with his family. He has four daughters, ages 17, 15, nine, and six. They’re beautiful, as is his wife. It was Shabbat, and so the dinner was extra special, with singing and challah, candles and wine. By the end of the evening I wanted to take the nine-year-old, who stayed by my side most of the night telling me everything there was to know about everything, and just squeeze her. When I hugged her good-bye I told her that I missed my girls.
This is a short post. Not focused, more stream of thought. I feel more than ever that we must elect Obama. Every person I talk to, from every nationality—they hate the U.S. They hate W. So much damage has been done to our reputation, our credibility, our influence.
We are one world now. We’re like those contraptions where you pull the ball on the pendulum and it hits a whole bunch of other balls, causing the one on the other end to jump out. We are the main ball, reverberating on every other one.
After I finish this post, I’ll call home. I’ll talk to the girls once for the weekend until Sunday night, their Sunday morning. It will be hard to not have at least twice-daily conversations with them. I call them every day when I get up to wish them Good-Night, then again in my evening to wish them Good-Morning.
I want them to come to Vietnam with me some time in the coming year. I want them to be able to see the world when they are young, when their minds are open and they can understand how each individual is connected to the whole.
Off to the Mekong Delta. Should be fascinating.