Thursday, October 13, 2005

bourgeoisies in 'nam

traveling in vietnam has to be the easiest so far. places are easy to access, most people speak english and the food is delightful. i have stopped saying that i am traveling through vietnam and am now stating that i am doing a culinary tour of vietnam. great french and eauroppean food is everywhere, along with great pastries and the likes. it seems that most of what we have been doing so far is eat in posh restaurants, living the life, filling our bellies with some of the greatest food ever. yesterday was filled with duck, duck in lime leaves, cannard à l'orange, crêpe flambées... hard to resist.

we are now in hué, the old capital of vietnam, with a unesco protected citadel city. the entire city though is beautiful. it reminds me of of a better version of vientiane in laos, with the larger streets, big trees and wonderful french architecture. yesterday we toured the old city, and gave in to another bourgeois activity: the cyclo. everywhere you go, people say "cyclo? ok? one hour? ok?" and finally we realised that it would be really nice to sit in the seat in the front and be cycled around town for a bit. it was wonderful, relaxing, yet it felt wrong as well. being pushed made me realise that the social divide between i and the cyclo was much greater than i imagined. i felt bad, felt like a coloniser perhaps, even as if i was superior, as if he was a servant. it was odd, being thorn between enjoying the ride and the streets of the old city and feeling as if what i was doing was reinforcing the colonial ties in the city. but he's a cyclo for money... i told myself, he needs this money, regardless of how akward this might be. i wondered if he felt degraded by his job... so i gave him a big tip.

last night we found the first bar so far that do not close by 11pm. we chatted up 3 french guys who biked all the way here from paris, and they were really nice (on top of having so many great biking stories, which made us feel a tad like our trip was very lazy compared to theirs...) we stayed out until 2:30, until we were told it was time to leave, "please leave *now*". it's funny how in vietnam they kick you out of the bar, at the hour the place closes, and never give you any time to finish your drink. when it's over, it's over.

so we then proceded to go to our balcony for a after-hour party. see, we found this awesome room with huge, soft beds and a gigantic patio that does the entire corner of the building (and the room has a *bath*! my second bathtub of the trip!). we continued drinking and talking until 6 this morning, until the sun was up, and the roosters were out and the world was alive again. it was weird to have an all nighter again, it had been so long! so we slept until noon and now we are off to do a tour of architectural marvels of hué by bike. it should be fun, even though we're pretty tired!


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