To do that ... I happen to write!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Vietnam Diaries #10: Pass it forward

We crossed a rickety old wooden bridge that shook with every motobike, to leave the city of Ben Tre behind and wander off in a land criss-crossed by countless numbers of small rivulets branching off the Mekong river. My host took us to a trail which branched off from the stone path through a short muddy track... and we were at a home of a stranger: not just to me, but also to my host!

It hardly felt like he was a stranger; a war veteran (from the south Viet side!): he has a huge collection of antiques. Before going to his house I was wondering how interesting can that be! Well, it was interesting but that's wasn't all. We had coconut and fresh fruits from his farm, fed the fish, rowed his boat, tried climbing coconut trees (to utter failure), saw the wedding video of his son, saw pictures of his 4 generations; and wait: divided up work to cook food in his home. Plucking yellow chilly from its plant, chopping it to pieces and then casually rubbing my fingers on my face was the highlight of this cooking session! Nothing would help subside the extreme burning sensation for next 2 hours!

I ate one of the best meals of my life; washed the dishes and then slumped into one of the dozens of hamlock spread all across his house!

The experience is incomplete without a mention of how cheerful that stranger was! Laughing and cracking jokes by the minute. His personality put us at east within first few minutes of meeting him, and infused an extra sense of joy in everything...

When taking a leave, I asked my host: "how do I pay him back!". 
She said, "Pay it forward"...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Vietnam Diaries #9: It's raining Cows!

When I say that this is the heaviest rainfall I have seen in my life, you better consider it with some merit as I have been to, and trekked during monsoon season in Augumbe - the place that receives 2nd highest rainfall in India, and have been during flash floods in Manali when on my way to Leh!

"But it's raining mad here in Vietnam, and the iJet intelligence system daily sends an email to my inbox around how the storm is going to hit me soon. And today was the d-day! Here's the latest:
Tropical Storm Gaemi is projected to make landfall in central Vietnam, south of Danang, late Oct. 6. From there, the storm will continue into Laos and Cambodia before eventually dissipating. 
Severe weather conditions are likely throughout central and southern Vietnam; officials predict heavy rain will fall in provinces from central Quang Binh to southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Authorities may suspend maritime services as the storm approaches. Flight disruptions cannot be ruled out during torrential downpours, though significant disruptions are unlikely. Expect localized road closures and mass transport disruptions. Power and telecommunications outages are likely...."

I tried and failed on the best way to capture it through my eyes, and failed even more miserably trying to capture it through my camera. Unfortunately (I am being sarcastic!), unlike India, despite heavy rainfall - several hours each days, for several days a week, for several week every month: there's no water log on the roads and traffic doesn't choke (even have experienced this first hand - towards the end of my bike trip in Vietnam)

Anyways, I went ahead and got drenched to my bones. I love rains here ...

... just that I miss having chai - pakora alongside ...