Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

Hoi An, The Killer City

What's clear, at this late date, is that my girlfriend attempted to kill me in central Vietnam. What's unclear is why she chose the ancestral seat of the Cham people to make her fatal move.

"What?" sez you. Your confusion is understandable - let me take you back to the beginning...

Fog and Bus

It started raining during our bus trip to Hoi An from Hue. So we whipped out the laptop and watched the Errol Morris film, The Fog of War. Seemed appropriate as we were just a few miles from Danang, My Son, My Lai, etc. It was a fascinating movie - McNamara is a mess of contradictions: monstrous, brilliant, foolish, empathetic, humble, arrogant, and at his worst - horrifyingly dispassionate and it must take a truckload of cognitive dissonance for him to drink his morning coffee without a shattered psyche.

It didn't stop raining in Hoi An. Well, it would stop for a second or two then start again. I felt a tickle in my throat and we pressed on hoping to get to My Son the next morning. That night, though, I came down with a cold. A nasty one. Mai said it was only a matter of time, seeing as I'd had a bit of a rough schedule this last month. To illustrate, here are the cities I've visited in the last month:
  1. Los Angeles, CA, USA
  2. San Diego, CA, USA
  3. Tucson, AZ, USA
  4. Houston, TX, USA
  5. Austin, TX, USA
  6. Athens, GA, USA
  7. Atlanta, GA, USA
  8. Wilmington, NC, USA
  9. Washington D.C., USA
  10. New York City, NY, USA
  11. Brooklyn, NY, USA
  12. Philadelphia, PA, USA
  13. Cleveland, OH, USA
  14. Chicago, IL, USA
  15. Lawrence, KS, USA
  16. Denver, CO, USA
  17. Provo, UT, USA
  18. Hong Kong, SAR ("It's not China yet, sez Mai.")
  19. Ha Noi, VIETNAM
  20. Ha Long Bay, VIETNAM
  21. Hue, VIETNAM
  22. Hoi An, VIETNAM
  23. My Son, VIETNAM
We skipped our tour the next day as I became feverish. For fun, we drafted just-in-case scenarios if I turned out to have Avian Flu. When Mai began getting sick, though, we got a little worried.

But this is where she hatched her evil plan. I surmise she intentionally got sick in order to lull me into a false sense of security. I'd just have to believe a person who was sick if they said, "Let's go to My Son anyway. During the rain. And just take medicine."

So we followed her evil plan. It didn't work out the way she wanted, however ... I'm alive. Alive, I tell you! A - L - I - V - E!*

Also: My Son was beautiful. The mist in the mountains of Vietnam makes everything seem hyper-realistic. We saw some amazing brick temples (Or what was left of them after a US bombing raid in '69.)

*Did you know you can get Codeine over-the-counter here? I didn't. Mai braved the rain to get medicine for her feverish boyfriend. And she conveniently felt better sooner than I did. Evil!
posted at September 13, 2004, 5:48 PM


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