I’ve written little since arriving in Vietnam. And at this point I have no reasonable explanation for the lapse. During my first couple of weeks “in country,” I blamed overwhelming volumes of new stimuli, believed my senses overly saturated. Now I’m beginning to blame plain old laziness.
I will note here, however, that late the other afternoon S. and I ate an early dinner at a Saigon establishment called Highlands Coffee. Soon after our arrival, the rain began. We have downpours most days during the rainy season, usually between 3 and 5 pm. This afternoon specifically, we were sitting on a covered patio, on a tree-lined street, during rush hour; and I was amazed by the roar of rain and traffic—pounding downpour, incessant honking of horns, jazz playing in the background—the volume of it all nearly deafening. We ate Pad Thai; I drank Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk, my newest beverage passion.
I’ve also begun to recognize a sound I associate with early mornings, one paired again with coffee consumption. Soon after sun rise, my neighbors gather outside on the street, drinking their first iced coffee of the day. This ritual requires someone chop huge cubes of ice into chunks, chunks into bits. So, before getting out of bed, I listen–