Month: January 2013

Tonal Language

The first time I went to Viet Nam I bought Vietnamese, Level One from Rosetta Stone and pretty much worked my way through it. I even stumbled through a rudimentary conversation on the phone with a tutor in which I managed to say I had one gray cat, one brown cat, and one white dog. Or at least I think I managed to say that. (more…)

The B-52

6037I wrote this on my last day in Hanoi in 2011. It has come back to mind as I prepare to return in March. When I was unable to find the B-52, I Googled it and grabbed this photograph.

Somewhere in this city there is an American B-52 bomber sticking out of a small lake in the middle of a residential district. The plane was shot down in 1968 or 1972 (accounts differ) and just left there. (more…)

Preparing, Part One

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Cha Ca in Hanoi

In two months I will be packing to return to Vietnam on a journey I imagined as I flew away from Hanoi the first time. That first time I had taken a journey that was as much spiritual and emotional as geographical. Hanoi, Vietnam, could never be for me simply a place I could negotiate by taking with me my usual tools. This time the guidebook, the map, had to be of a different territory located in memory and attached meaning. (more…)