Thursday, December 30, 2004
|What a day this has been. Gonna be a 2 part blog. Maybe.
We took a trip today out to the Perfume Pagoda. Don't ask. Most details are irrelevant. Some, however, are worth repeating.
First digression. Our hotel here in Hanoi is in the Old Quarter, only a few blocks from this big ole lake thing. People walk around it, shake it loose, huddle in the dark with their respective love interests and all that. And there are little workout classes, apparently. Ya know, the big jazzercise type stuff, follow me and try to pretend to know what you're doing. And ignore the crowd watching. Well, we watched a bit last night and recognized 2 of our friends! A mild shock for sure since we never expected to see (names changed for reasons of anonymity and my self-preservation) Joff Reem and Creeg Huuter here in Asia. But there there were, following as best they could in all their graceless/uncoordinated glory. Good stuff.
Today, Joff "I Must Win At Any Cost" Reem was our boat propeller. A one-hour ride up river and one-hour back downriver was part of this tour (unfortunately it was rainy and cold. Character builder, right?) in a metal skiff pushed along with 2 paddles from the rear section. Walking up to the 'dock' (the side of the river) R and I were the last to get assigned a boat. Fortunately our tour guide rode with us so he could explain why 'Joff' was screaming bloody murder in a shrilly shrieking voice for 20 minutes while only one person on shore humored her and yelled back (more people were wanted in the boat. That means more tip). Finally we cast off. And even though we were the last boat to leave, we arrived first. We won the boat trip. I never would have thought one old woman could paddle a boat hard enough to raise the front end of a 15' long by 3' wide boat completely out of the water. She even made us feel her muscles (yes, she was very ripped).
The ride back? 'Joff' was in a happy mood. Singing, clowning, taunting the other paddlers and gesticulating wildly at R and I. And we still made it back to our beginning point long before all the other boats. Winning makes a young girl's heart warm, I guess.
For the record-our paddler was called the female Vietnamese version of Joff by none other than RACHELLE. If she denies it, she really is lying this time.