Vinh - 11 Days in Vietnam - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2017


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On my fourth day in Vinh, I find time to be acting strangely. It stretches and compresses seemingly at will. Let me correct the last sentence. Time has yet to compress, it only stretches. That minute is now taking two minutes, the day no longer ends, the coffee I drink, a large latte, at the Highlands Coffee at the Big C, now takes a multiple of hours to finish. I know what coffee is. It is a plant that grows in the Central Highlands. It is a bush that produces a berry that it is harvested by a gentleman named Juan who is from Colombia, and placed in a roughly hewn sack located on the back of a mules, or possibly a jackass, I know not the difference between cloven foot beasts. The bean is then taken and spread out in the bright tropical sun and allowed to dry. At this point it is placed in another roughly hewn sack and shipped all over the world. It is roasted and ground into coffee, which is then combined with hot water and milk put in a cup, upon a saucer, with a small cookie at it’s side and served to me at the Highlands Coffee at the Big C in Vinh.

In a scene that is reenacted daily, I begin to drink my coffee just a time begins to slow. As my days begin to pile upon each other, like the lads in an English public school, experiencing their repressed homosexual feeling for the first time, in a English boyhood rite of passage that will only be a vague smile in 10 years as his wife, Penelope, serves up, yet another, Sunday Roast, the second grows into a minute, the minute into an hour, and the hour into infinity and beyond. I am given powers that as a working man I never knew existed. I can never be late, as time no longer allows for that. I can never be on time as I have nowhere to go. In fact, my life has become a void, it consists of no more than merely existing, nothing has meaning. I only eat as it sustains life, but what is the meaning of that life?

Have you been to Vinh? I check the internet “Vinh is a city of 560,000 that has little of interest to the tourist”. I am a tourist. Thus it appears that I am in the wrong place. The Big C does hold certain charms, but those charms are not enough to sooth the savage breast. In fact, as I sip my latte at the Highlands Coffee and notice 'things', the most notable thing that I have noticed is that the ‘savage breasts' in Vinh have been ensconced in a great deal of padding, perhaps to contain their savagery? Although the savagery of the breasts has been contained, the savagery of the citizens of Vinh, has not. Perhaps it is the 5000 years of civilization that China has enjoyed, that gives it a sense of refinement, albeit tempered somewhat by certain policies, such as the Cultural Revolution, and the Great Leap Forward, that is lacking amongst many of the citizenry of Vinh. Here is a culture that seems more based on a farmer turned soldier, squatting in a jungle, while wearing black pajamas, as B-52's drop bombs upon his village. Seen in this light it is easy to forgive trespasses of dignified decorum, for the citizenry of Vinh do not know any better. They are no different than that first fish the slithered onto dry land many eons ago, leading to our shared lineage. As I quietly drink my latte at Highlands Coffee, I take comfort in the fact that when I see a young Vietnamese person not barge into a line, I am actually witnessing that first fish slither from the muck and mire, I am witnessing evolution as it occurs. Perhaps, if I sire a child, and my child sires a child, and the siring progression continues to the year 2517, a still yet unborn distant relative of mine will be sitting at the Highlands Coffee, at the Big C in Vinh, and the 23 year old Vietnamese gentleman, who appears to be recently released from prison, will not be smoking in the mall, will not have his dirty bare feet upon the upholstery, will not be screaming, and will not have sired so many children during those brief conjugal prison visits.

My time in Vinh needs to end.

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