All happy, but to leave.

< travels >

August 9, 8:30am, cafe, Catba Island

No bread. Ugh. Coffee there is, but I'm not sure how much good that will do my stomach- it's a bit runny this morning we shall say. It's not that bad, but I do have 3 and a half hours on a boat ahead of me. Having an apple pancake in lieu of bread.

I think all the dogs on this island came from the same parents. Lots of German Sheperdy looking dogs. There are of course a few of the furry, stunted leg types running around as well.

Ate at this restaurant last night and have several mosquito bites from it. Let's hope the malaria medicine works, eh?

The flies own it this morning. Used to bug me as a kid when a single fly got near my food. Now, I jus have to deal. No point in getting upset.

Some foreigners were fighting over motorbike prices this morning. The Ugly Foreigner syndrome. Two of the guys seemed a bit embarrassed, but the one was adamant on something. Couldn't figure it out as I was watching from the third floor balcony.

More thunder rumbles, but it's not raining. Yet. Should be a swell ride home to Haiphong (pun intended I'm afraid).

My boat leaves in just under two hours. Plan to sit on the dock and pretend I can draw.

My legs are sore, the various bites itchy and some of my little nicks and abrasions from all those rocks and underbrush sting. But I'll leave this island happy, though not happy to leave.

Mr. Le, through his cousin, said I should sympathize with their poverty, and I do: they only have electricity from 6:30-10:30 every night, their six family members live in a tiny one room house, their food is probably not all that plentiful, and sanitation lousy.

And yet, I can't wish "modernity" on them. They don't know what they have in that lake, with their boats and caves. It's always greener on the other side and they don't know about the grey concrete of modern life (perhaps I don't really have any clue what it is to be poor). I might wish that they were more environmentally concerned, but the West is only coming to realize how much trash they have after years and years of throwing it about in bulk- come to think of it I probably generate as much trash as their whole family.

Anyway, I doubt they'd be any happier with all the things they lack now. Humans always tend to see the crappy side of life no matter where they are or what they have, and except for a few "freaks" and "weirdos", they only get happy occasionally.

But of course I have the freedom to come and go... But I do like the Les and hope the best for them, poverty or no.

I did spend much of the past couple days wading through water, wondering about Vietnam, and water born parasites. Can only imagine what kind of shit was in the water, especially the places in the flooded farm fields. Do they use "night soil," I wonder.

Also saw in a flooded path one day a jawbone, maybe human, maybe proto human, or ancient human in any case. But I wasn't about to pick it up.

One unhappy pig is being unloaded on the boat: in a sack!

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