Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Miss Saigon

I was trying to load my last pictures from Vietnam, of my father and me at the Rex Hotel rooftop bar. We had a swell time at the Rex, drinking draft beer, eating peanuts and trying to figure out which couples were legitimate and which involved hookers, as at least one definitely did. But right after we took the pictures I dropped the camera and it no longer functions, not even enough to yield its photographs. My husband will have a fit when he reads this, as he contends I should not be allowed to own a camera. He may be correct.

The photo up top is from earlier in the trip. The laundry wasn't all that cheap, but I will vouch for clean, nice, and fragrant.

Anyway, we're home. The grass is always greener and all that. The last few days in Vietnam, I pined for home -- for the garden, the puffy blue sofa where we watch TV (pitiful), my kids (so very much), turkey sandwiches with lettuce. Now that I have most of it back (minus the kids, who are still with their intrepid New England grandparents), I miss Saigon. Everywhere we went in Vietnam had charm, but Saigon is special. You should watch this video if just for 30 seconds, because it's a very fine representation of that wack city. Early on, my father and I threw ourselves into the traffic, walking many blocks during the day, at night, in the blistering heat, in the rain, after a few drinks, stone sober, always scared out of our minds. The last day, we took taxis. It seemed too sad to die right before we were going to get to go home.

But the people who handle that traffic with nonchalance and elan, they're awe-inspiring. The way a Saigon native saunters into an onrushing horde of motors scooters while talking on a cell phone, wearing stylish shoes, and carrying a small child has to be one of the coolest sights in the world. 

As for the suburban garden I longed to return to: what a bummer. Still no ripe tomatoes and something has been eating my pumpkins, scooping out all the flesh and turning them into little tureens. Rats? The big fat chickens? If I had a camera, I'd take a picture. No eggplants, not a one. No melons. Snails have shredded the chard leaves into lace. A lot of squash, and that's thrilling. Just thrilling. I sat around in Vietnam pining for a garden full of zucchini. 

It's still great to be home. 

22 comments:

  1. Welcome home! I too was getting homesick for your home cooking posts. Maybe you can make something comforting like a pie. Perhaps a squash pie. Hubby once made pumpkin pie from a real sugar pumpkin. It turned out fine, but for the effort and taste, he decided that the can was just as good. (I think this conclusion was heavily influenced by the fact that he didn't get nearly the amount of accolades he expected at Thanksgiving dinner.)

    A week or so before I go on vacation, I make an effort to cut back my roses. That way they don't bloom while I'm gone (which seems disloyal) but they are popping with buds when I return.

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  2. Reflect on this, however: how would you feel if you came home and there WEREN'T a mountain of squash to greet you? I'll tell you: crappy and embarrassed, that's how.

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  3. Okay, okay, I am pleased by the squash. HOWEVER, the chickens have been going after the pumpkins. I caught them in the act this afternoon. Better than rats, but now I have to build a little fence.

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  4. Mine keep tromping my beans. So thoughtless.

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  5. What a great trip! Thanks for sharing it.

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  6. But you MUST have a camera- you take great great pictures. especially of the tour guide showing you the hidden tunnels in vietnam.

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  7. That is some video! Impossible. It reminds me a bit of a college-campus intersection full of bikes, pedestrians and injured football players in golf carts, back in the day, before they lined that sort of intersection and made it all orderly.

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  8. helltoupee8/3/09, 9:00 AM

    Saigon traffic reminds me of an anthill, (which I observed this morning on my walk through sagebrush.) Despite seeming, teeming! chaos there is Great Order -- just watch a single ant perform its mission...

    Also LOVE the masks/styling on the women!

    Thanks so much for your exceptional blog, Tipsy.. I read it every morning almost without fail.

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