Sunday, September 20, 2009

"I Can See You, Your Brown Skin Shining In The Sun..."

Things to note about Nam:

1) The dogs in Can Tho are similar to the people here: small, and timid. All of them look like they're starving. And the only one that barks is my neighbor's. He actually COMES to the edge of my sidewalk as I walk to my front door. He yelps at the top of his lungs until I'm safely inside, then skitters away. I hate him. We will never be friends.

2) The skin thing. It's outrageous. They literally hide from the sun here. White skin is revered, I get that. But I still don't understand why. The typical Vietnamese skin tone - the one that you'd see on the backs of workers in the rice fields, doubling over in the long grass, admidst the sweltering heat and penetrating UV rays - is beautiful. A color that desperate housewives all over America would kill to have. While those women spend thousands of dollars each year at tanning salons, the Vietnamese are dressing in layers to keep their flesh a milky, ivoy color. Crazy.

3) The pagodas. Today, I went to the province of Soc Trang. About an hour and a half after our bumpy bus ride, we arrived at the station, only to be told that we wouldn't be able to purchase tickets for our returning trip home. Apparently, they were booked. Lovely.

As always, when things go wrong in Nam, we called An. Our angel in disguise. She has helped us out in more situations than I can count. After the workers at the Mailinh bus company handed my friend's cell phone back to us, An informed us that we could come back later, at any time, and they would send us home.

First, we had no way of getting home. Now, it was up to us when we departed. TIV, man. This is Vietnam...

Anyhoo, the PAGODAS. Yes, they are beautiful. So colorful and so elaborate. The use of color in the Buddha paintings that adorned the temple walls was the kind you would find in a Crayola crayon box. I'm talkin' the loud, vibrant section of the box - the macaroni & cheese, the magenta, the teal. You name it, it was up there. It made the dull murals of my hometown St. Augustine' church seem so boring in comparison. Maybe if mass had looked this cool growing up, I wouldn't have been so reluctant to tag along all those year. Ha...just kiddin' mom ;-)


  1. hey kelly, just got a gmail account and wanted to see if it worked!

  2. creamy white skin means you don't work in the fields as a common laborer. It's a status symbol in most of Asia.