Written as a way of documenting my recent trip to Vietnam.
When the rain lifted, the streets shone. So many colours, so many fragments of light. Life flashed past at the speed of an elevator, a moped or a street bicycle. People talking fast in a language neither of them could understand, but Claro loved it, loved the unfamiliar tones falling on his ears.
Angela wanted to go somewhere where they served good alcohol (anywhere, if you ignored the word ‘good’) and Claro wanted to go somewhere. He could wander the streets forever, gaze up at the tall, tall buildings, feel the rush as ten million people walked past, meet unfamiliar clouds in an unfamiliar sky. Eventually Angela would pull him into a place ablaze with fluorescent light where he would find other pleasures in meeting new people and making new friends. Angela would wake up the next morning stormy with a hangover, but he would not. The city beckoned, life, life beckoned. “Let’s go.”
The river taxi out into the middle of the city, where they would take the car to the next place, ride between the traffic, then the cyclo, riding with the traffic, then attempt to play Russian Roulette with the pedestrian crossings. Claro’s heart was in his throat, Angela yelped every time a moped sped at her, but they reached tehir destination laughing and in one piece.
“The history’s fascinating.” Angela peered at the guidebook.
“Do you want to go out of the delta today or leave it for another couple of days?”
Claro’s head turned as a moped bearing a man, woman and child sped past.
“Do you want to go to the delta today? Claro?”
He turned back to her and shrugged.
“We can’t stand here all day.”
“I’m hungry, for one.”
“We should get some food and then come back here.”
She laughed. “Crazy.” she called him.