Shhhh ...but tomorrow I will have to do a border-run. I will be on the lam, crossing through countless green waving rice fields and over rough roads through thick tangled dark jungle mountain passes, passing by little rural thatched-roof villages and muddy rivers filled with sampans and lotus flowers. I will see farmers bent over low in the rice paddies wearing their finely woven Non la hats as well as many villagers wearing the same style hat riding bicycles or scooters that are piled high and so precarious with everything but the kitchen sink aboard (although I could very well see one of those being balanced on the back too!). I will move through the swirling mist of low drifting mountain clouds and the sweet smelling gossamer veils of burning sandalwood incense from roadside pagodas. I will see shaven-headed monks in their long brown cloaks walking barefoot with heads full of meditative chants. I will think on Thich Nhat Hanh, the wise Vietnamese Buddhist monk, whose very words carries such truths that they dart from the pages of the little book of his writings I will bring with me and hit me right in the heart. That is so true! I will think after every passage I read with my hand on my heart to help hold it in. This was/IS his country! And it was also the country of the long revered Truong Sisters, two strong Vietnamese sisters who garnered an army in a civil uprising to try to fight off the Chinese imperialists way back in 42 AD.
Image: Stock photo of village in Vietnam
Image: Stock photo of a "sampan" and woman wearing a "Non la" , a traditional woven cone hat
This land I am in has such rich history! And so very very little I know of it. I must learn more as now I am connected to this country by blood. I want to be able to talk with my grandchildren about this, their homeland, and not be so ignorant of the history and culture. I want them adorned with lotus flowers and anointed by the perfume of sandalwood incense, to see their misty-topped mountains rise up in their eyes, and for them to have the East Sea and Mekong River course through their veins. For them to be soooo very proud of their Vietnamese heritage, as I would be were I Vietnamese.
Tomorrow I go to Laos. This is my route by bus:
So, haha! I am not actually "on the lam" but am just going to get my passport stamped there and then return to Da Nang on the same day with a new visa. While I don't know that I will see all I have said above that I will, I am hoping to! But if I don't, that's OK, because all I have described (plus much much more) does exist here.