Ha Long Bay, after a funny touristy trip to “authentic fishing village.” I jumped in. I didn’t plan on it, but I did. Which is the best way, by the way. Yeah, it was brutally cold. I’d do it again. The rule: Never, ever stick your toe in.
(Special to Mel Smyth, who is a favourite word-making inspiration, especially in txrt, FB, another short form. The Jonathan Swift of txt, Mel is. When Beth Orton asked Terry Callier how they might sing a duet together, he said: “Well, I guess, I just try to sing like you and you try to sing like me.” [see her EP “Best Bit”] This is how I feel when I exchange written words with Mel.)
(And of course, it’s really tastier to read this with all photos included at www.minglefreely.com, all you Facebookers.)
OK, just made my own Nescafé at the bar, bitches. As always, I am the first to rise. Including the help.
The only other person up on this tourist, party boat Chris and I somewhat misguidedly signed on for, shambled into the bar/restaurant, hearing me tink-tink-tinkling around behind the bar, looking for the right gear. The timing was critical. Fortunately, I’d figured out how to boil water and liberally jiggle a pile of instant coffee into a cup, before acknowleding her correctly-predicted look of distinct worry: “Oh no. Wait,” she begged, after surveying my heap of brown powder. I smiled cheerfully, and nodded perfunctorily, while she tried to figure out how to amend this critical failure to accomodate, but before she could wake the entire staff to be at my service — blam — coffee was happening in my cup. Vietnamese hospitality is great, but you cannot, must not, stop my roll, bitches. I was up first. That always trumps, world.
On the topic of coffee: Some have been privvy to my rant about Americans and coffee and how, since the dawn of Starbucks we act like we invented drinking coffee, The fact is, like so many things, we as a culture took a peaceful, meditative activity and turned it into a job, a competition, the conduit being those spectacularly myopic cardboard rings (ooh, I’ve wanted to write this for a long time) that help us not burn our gentle little fingie-wingies. Fortunately, lots of other places haven’t lost the Meaning of Coffee: Sit (or stand) still. Maybe have a chat. Get a little jolt. Live for a minute. Get back to what you were doing.
I remember trying to get a cup of to-go coffee in rural England 16 years ago. Went into a pub and asked for some coffee in a to-go cup. Dude was like: “We don’t have any.” I was like: “Wha? But…” It seriously took me years to understand that it was just inconceivable to him that somebody would not sit down to drink a cup of coffee. So sit down and drink your coffee, my friend. Let the world stand still for A Moment or two.
Anyway — Nescafé rules the world, apparently. What I didn’t really know is that it’s also delicious. I’m not breaking down my espresso station at home just yet, mind you, but I might get a jar of Nescafé to keep around, you know, for Auld Lang Syne.
Oh by the way: played “Hey Jude” on my #amahi in a cave today and a Viet tour guide felt moved to sidle up and sing a duet with me. And so — Best Day of My Life, So Far. Obvz.