More rain

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Aug14, 8pm, restaurant. Last evening in Vietnam.

The restaurant is empty, as are the streets. The middle of the week seems to be the low point of visitation. People come for Sunday market I guess. It didn't seem to be that special though maybe there is one in another village or something that I missed.

Best time to come, for me. Leaving a bit disappointed though. This day's hike was cut short by a little too much rain and mud. It started spitting and then pouring. But I was a good ways down the valley when I came to a point where there was no more solid ground, only mud. I didn't feel like tramping across people's yards and such. I tried to make it as far as I could, but I almost lost a shoe. Having them wet was bad enough- but not having them at all?

Walking back didn't turn out to be much better, because I had started out when the rain had begun. The rain water only now was finding its way down into the valley. I ended up wading through numerous swollen streams: fast flowing water that was quickly eroding the dirt road away.

I was singing and whistling to keep my spirits up. Some child herders saw me and led me the quick way up a slope. One lent me his stick: seeing that I was not as agile or fast as they were. When we got to the next part of the path, they wanted me to whistle again. They would purse their lips together and blow, but nothing came out. They seem very perplexed, amazed how I could do it.

On the way back, I found another disturbing thing. Passing a little way station, I was offered opium. Two guys were doing bongs on the porch looking very happy. I declined. Was glad that I hadn't wandered to far off any tracks where I showing up in someone's poppy fields.

I was soaked upon return and spent a while cleaning clothes and hanging them up to dry. By then of course the rain had stopped and the valley was clear. Too late and too clean, my shoes a sopping mess, I wrote letters, read and climbed up the hill above town. My shoes were pretending to dry, so I just wore the slippers I found in my room. It got painful after a while, but what could I do?

With the sun out there was a gorgeous view, but I couldn't help being bitter. I wanted to walk! I was mad at myself for not bringing my sandals or another pair of shoes. Alas!

There were lots of dog fights in town: dogs snarling and snapping at each other.

And there was more examination of my pocket knife and keychain by little kids in town. Curious and jealous perhaps, could I blame them? They would've searched my bag and pockets if I would have let them.

Now, I've just finished my last meal in Vietnam (provided no problems at the border-knock on wood).

The only thing I can think about China is that I'll miss bread very much, now that I've had a steady supply for a couple weeks. Guess I'll get used to its absence though. Done it before in Taiwan, right?

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