It's hot, but nice hot. Vietnam has been good. Marriage has been good, I am at peace.
Should I tell this backwards, starting most recently? At the markets, being sized up for a $60 suit by the cackling woman who kept slapping me on the butt- unnervingly accurate with her cupped hand I noted. At dinner, last night or the night before, eating soft shell crab and various other things but oh my the soft shell crab was good! You eat it whole, little crunchy legs and all, coated with a thin respectful batter and nicely seasoned. Down in the tunnels at Cu Chi, ears still ringing from sending a clip from a captured US M-60 into a cardboard tiger at the end of the firing range. Or back at the wedding itself. The band, how good were they, the best Police cover you'll ever hear, the cake, friends partying hard.
Me breaking into tears almost as much as beloved. When I looked at her I cried. She squeezed my hand and I cried again.
I cried during her speech, and I cried at the end of mine. I just gave her a list of things I love about her, then I said:
Thank you for being my girl, thank you for being my best friend, thank you for saying yes, thank you for becoming my wife.... I love you, and I will love you forever.I sang to her, it was the big secret. I did it with the band, a blues I wrote that has a nice ending.
OK, OK, you really want to know about Vietnam, no? How about the war crimes museum? Little deformed babies preserved in jars ('agent orange'), sympathetic pics of GIs in mud or hanging dead from ropes below helicopters.
Or Cu Chi? Maybe the best tour I've ever been on. We saw the leg traps designed to send metal spikes into you 8 different ways. Yes, I paid about $20 to fire a belt of M-60 heavy duty machine gun rounds on a range. It scared the life out of me, let alone being at the other end. I raked the ground, it flew up in bursts of dirt, the sound was incredible. The M-60 fires heavyweight rifle bullets at ten rounds per second. It kills. Fearsome, sobering.
My guide was such a nice guy, and the army regular who went down in the tunnels with me. We did the main tourist tunnel, widened to accomodate americans, then they took me to another dirty dark little tunnel. I barely fit. I crawled, fast, about 60 metres in pitch darkness. When I came out I was drenched in sweat and hyperventilating.
The Vietnamese lived under there for a couple of years, only coming out to fight.
Have to say, they're very magnanimous about it, keep thanking me for Paul Keating's friendship bridge!
Scorpion and Spitting Cobra wine isn't as bad as it sounds, either.
The night calls, the tropical heat is making me amorous. More posts soon, sorry about the hiatus.
With regards, from Hoi An, Armaniac....x