March 17, 2006

Kon Tum

So I went! Another ride with beautiful scenery of more mountains and the greens that covered them. It was a strange city for me though. Much bigger than I had anticipated and much few tourists as well. Actually, I was the only one! Strolling the streets being looked at for my whiteness, not my money was better I guess, but no matter what happens everything's so freaking strange! Woman reaching out to stroke my cheeks. No, I mean it was a great experience, very nice people there, but you wouldn't really know at first glance.

The kids are the best and want to say hello because it's just too funny. One hopped on my bike and another pushed us along. One at a time, a few girls ended up peddaling beside me to ask a couple questions, or not. A little girl showed me how big she could blow up her corn balloon. High-schoolers invited me under their shelter while we drank water and waited for the storm to die out. The cutest 3 boys sat infront of their house, behind a house shouting "Hello, hello, hello!!!". We had a small conversation and they agreed to a photo. But they are the only ones I have met who didn't want to see their picture. Their unsure expressions and no movement to come over made me wonder if they have even seen a digital camera before? Anyway, great photo!

The day was super humid as I rode around. Fields behind the villages grew various plantations in the corner of the Dakbla River. A couple Rung houses appeared above the tree tops. They are traditional meeting places that are recognized by a massive, tall roof. The height represents power, not sure if there's a physical reason for it. Sat at a teeny table on the sidewalk while the rain subsided. Was intrigued to try a savoury pancake with bean sprouts inside, made on 5 little burners right beside me. My mission was to find shampoo in the market. I successfully did not by hair dye but unsuccessfully gained a bottle of conditioner. My favourite person was An, an artist who has designed a cafe of carved sculptures, hanging gongs and plants all over. He lost his father in the war. He says my drawings remind him of a French artist who came to Kon Tum, named Soffie. P

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