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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Lady With Flower

Prepare yourselves. This is BIG.

I'm going to tell you what happened to me today.

I went and saw a famous landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.

The landmark is.................

Thích Quảng Đức.

He was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist Monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on June 11th, 1963. He was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Diem.  JFK said in reference to a photograph of Đức on fire, "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one."

(photo by Pulitizer Prize Winner journalist Malcolm Browne)

Is it making sense yet?

Think back to 1987... when Baby and her family have JUST arrived at Kellermans and the conversation goes like;

Lisa: "Oh my God. Look at that! Ma, I should have brought those coral shoes. You said I was taking too much!"

Mother: "Well, sweetheart, you brought ten pairs."

Lisa: "But the coral shoes match that dress!"

Father: "This is not a tragedy. A tragedy is three men trapped in a mine or police dogs used in Birmingham."

and then....

Baby: "Monks burning themselves in protest."

Monks burning themselves in protest...  I was TODAY years old when that suddenly made sense.  Only took me 31 years to figure out what they were talking about. Well damned if I don't just get smarter every day. Let the research begin!!! Other than that new found knowledge... fairly boring morning... woke up... packed... sweated a lot cuz it's hot... wrote... booked my airporter... checked out of the hotel.

Then I went down and looked at yet another interesting breakfast.  I shouldn't complain because it's included... and I'm actually NOT complaining... I'm just intrigued by the odd selection they offer each day. Eating breakfast at my hotel is like dating a schizophrenic.You never quite know... Due to the fact I became so consumed with massage, bubbly red wine and toilet trips last night, I managed to miss out on the big tower sky deck trip, so that's the direction I headed in today before I had to go to the airport.  Phu Quoc is calling...! It cost me 200,000 dong to get up and it was 'not bad' as views go... but I just started getting this sickly feeling again... so got outta there pronto...

I have to say, I'm a real catch. Claustrophobic, restless legs, crippling sciatica, slightly wary of heights, constipate regularly (of late), losing an endless battle with both gluten & dairy, can't control my alcohol, bloat uncontrollably, tend to fart & slobber when I'm sleeping (or awake... whatever) .... I'm overly dramatic and almost every single day, inexplicably annoying things happen to me that just don't seem to happen to others...

Yep, I know... I'm thinking it too... Why is this girl single?

It's baffling...

On the other hand though, I do have a face like Shania Twain, so that's gotta count for something. To celebrate my recent defecation, I found a quaint little cafe on the ground and treated myself to a Mai Tai and some salad rolls. Afterward, I stopped at the market one more time before heading back to the hotel... and this is all I heard;

"Lady with flower! Lady with Flower!"

"Hello Lady flower I like!"

"You nice with flower, Lady!"

"Lady with flower! Come in!"

Obviously referring to my tattoo... Neither their charm, nor their compliments managed to lure me in, let alone persuade me to purchase anything.

A couple things that I have to comment on before I leave the big city... and for all I know, it's the same in all Vietnam.

  1. The tables and chairs are way too tiny... even for the grown Vietnamese.  It's like the entire country got a killer deal on a bunch of daycare furniture and decided to take the whole lot.  Why?  Why so small... ?

  2. The litter is out of control.  Come on... the majority of it is take-out containers and plastic bottles. And it's not just the random / occasional container and/or bottle... there are PILES of them... littering the streets, rivers, embankments, construction zones, parking lots, pathways, gardens... 

  3. I'm definitely booking a room with a rooftop pool when I come back to HCMC... AND a bar.

  4. These masks everyone is wearing... I don't get it... What I do understand is the power of pollution, but I don't think these little patterned cotton mouth covers will save you.  But who am I to know?  

  5. All everyone has warned me about is to keep my belongings safe, and never let things out of my site... blah, blah, blah... don't trust strangers, go with your gut... Well, then WHY would my hotel give me a hotel key card with their name AND the address on it... AND my specific room number?  Someone please explain this logic to me.  Indisputably dumb. 

  6. And what in the WORLD is this lady saying?  I've concluded that her job is to drive this cart around and around and around the block, yelling this over and over and over again... Not one word of a lie...

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