Thursday, June 2, 2011
I have to do this
Jason is the unassuming American, the obscure tourist and he enters a new country to study and observe and he will not leave a mark of any kind. Americans want coddled, flashy vacations and those are the ones you see walking into a McDonald's in Paris. We whine and demand and non-Americans see us as ugly and demeaning and downright rude, and they are right.
This trip has brought Jason to Laos and Cambodia, Thailand and now Vietnam and he is enjoying this little country with the unfortunate history.
The villagers point and laugh at this small white man and many of these remote bergs are not on the map. He is seeing how most of the world lives, a shack, home sewn clothes, a goat and pig, rice and corn crops. The urban areas are crazy loud and he describes Hanoi as a city on steroids. Jason bought a motorbike that he will sell before leaving the country. I picture him put-putting down a dirt road trying to avoid the chickens.
Jason reminds me that he and I had talked about going to England for a few weeks to commemorate my 60th birthday next April, oh, this was long ago. I hem and I haw, this trip has always been thrilling as long as it was anticipatory, in the future and I can't imagine myself so far away from my Iowa home. But I have to do this, have to do this, my aunt Gloria out in Arizona tells me, her voice rising, you do not want to regret not going. I will live out of a knapsack and bunk in hostels and that means widening my boundaries regarding personal space. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Luckily, I will be with a seasoned traveler, one who has studied hundreds of maps all over the world. The Cowboy will not be going. He would insist on eating at McDonald's and would try and make the Buckingham Guards laugh. And Susan, I'm still interested in going to Mexico for lobster.