sic transit transit (a final thought before the final thoughts)

Well, the hour grows late and here I am in Hanoi, taking one last surreptitious internet break before packing the last of the clothes and taking the cab to the airport. I have been an embarrassingly lazy sod as far as the writing is concerned; I’ll just have to write up Hue and Hanoi once I get back to the states tomorrow.

In the meantime, a final anecdote:

Last night, Miranda and I decided to go slightly upscale for our Last Dinner In Viet Nam: a popular Hanoi place called Opera that does fancy-schmanzy Viet food for the local nouvelle riche and the international crowd.

Dinner was fab (food porn blogging re that later), but somewhat unfortunatly, we were seated next to a table of four NGO workers who were having a long, animated and somewhat loud discussion about… the American presidential election.

I travel halfway across the world, and still George W. Bush can find a way to nearly ruin my dinner.

The subject had, of course, come up a fwe times before in some of our conversations with (mostly Australian) other tourists here, but for the most part I’d been able to gently (and sometimes not) move the chatter on to other topics. Let met tell you: two straight weeks of not thinking about American politics has been beyond a relief: it’s been like having an extra hundred pounds I never realized I was carrying suddenly liposuctioned out. Listening to our neighbors at the restaurant, I could feel the weight starting to settle back over my shoulders.

It got me thinking a bit about the last two weeks. What I miss, and what I don’t.

I miss New York City. I miss my family and my friends. I miss (hey babe). I miss bagels. I miss sushi that I’m not too scared to eat.

But I don’t miss America at all.

And that’s a nearly unbearably sad thought.

Oh well, nothing for it. Time to go home, for whatever value of home is on offer.


Cue travelling music:


125 MPH
(Sullivan/Heaton/Harris) 1987

I’m heading north, I’m heading home doing a hundred and twenty-five
I close my eyes and count to ten — Ha ha, I’m still alive
Perfect, perfect tunnel vision, razor sharp and racing, racing
These moments, immortal,
No one touches this

These things they flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
Nothing that I need to know or ever understand
These things they flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
You can die before you get old
But me, I’m going to live forever

The music plays, the party swings, the gaiety walls come closing in
I catch your eye, you take my hand — out into the night we run
Dancing down those dead-end streets — howling at the moon like little kids
Out on the grass at the top of the hill, your breath tastes sweet …

These things they flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
Nothing that I need to know or ever understand
These things they flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
You can die before you get old
But me, I’m going to live forever

And if I say I hate this place, don’t take it as personal
And just because I want to kill somebody doesn’t mean to say that I will
And I don’t think that that makes me crazy and anyway I’m way past caring
There’s a ride leaves out of here at nine. What do you say? What do you say?

Tonight we’ll flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
Nothing that I need to know or ever understand
These things they flow as blood must flow
Dust to dust and wind must blow
You can die before you get old
But me, I’m going to live forever.

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