Montag, 21. Mai 2012

Xin chào Bin Som!

Xin chào Bin Som!
© Eike-Christian Heine

After I spend a complete day in a room with AC, a soft bed, a reading lamp and a fast internet connection, I was ready to face Vietnam. In Bin Som, you really need to be ready, at least if you are tall and blond. Don't get me wrong, the people here are stunningly friendly. But before I never ever had an idea of how Brad Pit might feel when he goes for lunch or a beer. Now I believe I get the general picture:

Everyone waves and says "hello". The girls start to giggle and blow kisses. People take out their mobiles and take pictures or ask if I don't want to take pictures of them. It's fun. But its exhausting. What is tiring too is the fact that it is impossible to communicate in English. There is absolutely no shared language with people on the street. But once I faced these facts, I spend a phantasmic day in Bin Som.

After having a coffee and some noodles early in the morning, i sat down at a street vendor to have a coke. People tried to communicate with me, but we failed. At one point a young man came along. Asked me to come to an internet cafe across the street. I payed my drink and joint him. His name was Long. On all the computers boys were playing ego-shooters. He opened google.translate but a second later we had a blackout that seemed to have taken over the complete town. So Long walked me to his house. He was 28 years old, introduced me to his parents, his sister, his brother in law and their little boy. We had a beer. It was 10 in the morning.

He and his dad then turned on a generator and we could have our google-translated conversation. But still, this page is a tricky and confusing thing. When it was time for lunch I swallowed down the fact that i eat vegetarian. Normally I would not have eaten a single dish on the table – scrambled eggs with meat, a soup with beef and crabs –, but what was I supposed to do? So i  broke the crab's armor open, grabbed it by its legs, dipped it in a hot sauce, crushed the poor things remaining harder parts with my teeth, chewed and gulped it down. 

Later Long lead me to a barber and a book shop. I now have a 1,50 € vietnamese haircut and am freshly shaved. He introduced me to several of his friends. Communication was an effort. No one spoke English. I can't speak Vietnamese. Even if I found a word in my newly acquired dictionary, my tongue won't bend to the 6 different tones the vietnamese language knows, nor could my ears necessarily notice the differences between them. We tried hard to understand and laughed a lot.

I had to leave quite suddenly when I checked the time. I had to return my borrowed bike by six and had to hurry. Just when I walked back to my air-conditioned room, it started to pour. I trotted in the dusk and the rain. I was weary and happy. Languages can be such awfully tiresome monsters, as well as amazingly stunning beauties.

Long
© Eike-Christian Heine
Long's father having a smoke
© Eike-Christian Heine
Long's family
© Eike-Christian Heine
Mom and dad and all the crabs I had
© Eike-Christian Heine
The funny beverage lady that chewes Betel nuts
© Eike-Christian Heine
Good night, rainy night, Bin Som!
© Eike-Christian Heine

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