March 20, 2006

Nha Trang

A very pleasant city with everything you need. I decided to take advantage of the weather and do the party boat ride around the islands and relax on the tree-lined beach. Our energetic guide sang karoke while he danced, was a floating bartender in the water and made sure we had enough pineapple, watermelon and tofu-bean-fish-spring rolls to eat. All the waitresses spoke great English and held my hands and hugged my shoulders as if we had been friends for years. They asked where I was going next and that they would miss me and gave some suggestions of hotels to stay at.

I wasn't sitting on the beach alone very long before I had a young woman custom fitting two anklets on my left foot, an older woman selling flat-seeded crispy bread lying asleep on my left, a bright kakhi green costumed security guard on my right, a girl and her cousin squatting behind me to say hello and then the rest of her large family to later join and circle all around. A very relaxed and quiet little gathering we had formed, keeping shaded from the pines behind us. They mostly just stared at me until I looked and we smiled at each other. I get a few answers from my questions but mostly there is just laughter from not understanding. My sudden group of friends gradually left and soon it was just me again, to finish my drawing of the shaped trees in the park. A garden of dark cubes, cylinders, cones and spheres, up in the air, supported by their mangly branches. P

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