Here in Can Tho, I have very little in the sense of creature comforts. Reese's peanut butter cups aren't sold at a single general store; Magners hard cider won't be seen tumbling out of the tap at any pub in town, that beautiful golden glow filling my heart to the brim as I see the contents of this most beloved boozy beverage doing the same thing in my pint glass, sloshing and spilling over the sides before Colleen, the bartender at Christy's in Pearl River, forks over my drink; and there is not a single movie theater for a hundred or so miles, which is, in the end, the one thing I miss most. (I'm quite the movie geek, you see.) Life without these bumpin' bonuses is tolerable - just a lot less fun than it used to be. And I thoroughly enjoy my share of fun.
But I do have two things that, when combined, serve as my sturdy sanctuary here in Nam: my mosquito net, and my bed. Now, they might not look like much to you in the above image (side note: that picture is a lie, and was taken in late August - my room is WAY messier than that now, as Christine, my lovely roommate, can attest to.) And the pole on the botton-left corner of my bed that keeps the net in place may fall down day after day, forcing me to jam it back together and cursing the way this stupid bed was put together in the first place. But still, this space is the only one I can call my own. When I find myself enclosed inside it, feeling much like a baby chicklet in an incubator, not allowed to become exposed to the external environment due to various forms of hostility (in this case, mad mosquitoes craving for my blood), I am somewhat at home. Sleep doesn't always come, but a chance to sweat and smell and surf the Net without being bothered by a single, solitary soul is what matters most here. Thank the sweet baby Jesus for the World Wide Web.
The mattress sucks and the sheets are sticky, even after just two days of getting a fresh pair - one never stops sweating here, my friend. Even the pillow is too rigid and too thick. Anyone who knows my sleeping habits can tell you that I like only one pillow while I sleep, nice 'n broken into. Anything too stiff or too solid will just cause me to feel like my head is too elevated, further detouring me from my date with the dream fairy. And my net may even be incapable of keeping out all unwanted visitors, allowing Vietnam to leave as many imprints on my legs with bites as she has with experiences on my heart and my mind.
But all of that is okay. Because my bed is my bed, and no one else's. And in a country like Vietnam, where space is such a precious commodity, I feel priveleged to claim full ownership rights on this one.