Maybe it was just Hue, my experience with the people changed radically when I stepped foot off the bus. I realized this town was very similar to the places I passed through in Laos, where almost everyone is living off of the tourist's sales. A society where personalities and expectations have changed due to the fact they see me as a rich tourist who can spend as I please. And then I take the liberty of having my specific measurements measured, taking advantage of cheap custom made garments. I have fallen under the spell of buying again, unable to resist the wonderful displays presented before me. Hundreds of beautifully fit tailored suits, dresses and tops line the roads. Dozens of coloured lanterns light up the dark nights. Canvas and silk paintings of girls on bikes and woman with long ponytails.
Very upsetting, I have lost my lovely Japanese hat. It has served me well over the past 5 years but it will still be sadly missed. I think the tragedy happened in the chaos of the crowded market of bubbly cucumbers, flat mandarins and layers of bean sprouts upon baskets of cabbage. When saying "no thank you" to every offer of necklaces, t-shirts and ceramic plates. When trembling as a poor man begs with no eyes and no arms. When paying a coin for a photo to the laughing woman with bright yellow flowers turning warmer in the late afternoon sun. When the pesky little girls and boys who hit me when I don't buy their cards. Perhaps, I can find a collapsable Vietnamese cone hat? P