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Nov 5, 2012

Episode 130: Ho Chi Minh City

The girl next to me on the plane from Tokyo to Saigon was on her way to a WMD Non-proliferation Conference. An Aussie living in Hawaii, we had a lot to talk about before the screaming baby behind us shut down everyone's enjoyment.
ANA's Video screens are huge by today's airline standards
The aftermath of Tropical Storm Sandy had already made me five days late for the Documentary shoot in the small Vietnamese city of Hue. A TV crew had covered the filming of the ceremony for Hung's Dad's 10th year memorial. For a small fee they will furnish us with the footage, but I wish I'd had control. An opportunity to 'remain calm and let the mud settle' which is the approach I've adopted for this period.

The hotel room I've awoken in, jet lagged at four this morning was paid for by Hung's cousin, along with a sim-card for my unlocked phone, a bowl of noodles and a beer. I haven't worked out the why's of who pays, but hopefully that duty-free vitamin cream I gave him for his girlfriend will even things out. He won't take my money though, and I withdrew Two Million Dong at the airport….  2 million.

The front desk girl was bedded down on the couch along with another girl in the little lobby adjacent to my room.

A wander around the neighborhood revealed that the people are very friendly and quite curious. It reminds me of China in the eighties - the people have a good look at me, a smile waiting just below the surface, especially the old people.

I was glad I brought my sunglasses out to breakfast as I was picked up on a motor bike: riding bitch across town weaving through oncoming traffic. Beef noodle soup for breakfast is not everyone's cup of tea. Off on another hair raising mystery trip to meet some more cousins for coffee, which the Vietnamese do in a very special way. 

The motor bike culture here is ingrained across the generations. 

Things I saw on motor bikes today: 
  • Babies
  • One 40 litre propane tank
  • One 40 foot pole
  • One family (they were moving house)
Shooting tomorrow in Hue, 7:30 start. Can't wait to get working on this project.

I need help: documentary in process (More info here )

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