How could I not miss the tropics? Nearly a year in the heat and the buzz and the thick sweat and fresh fruit, good god, I’m travel-sick. Oh, I love the Pac NW but the laid back thrill of being in Vietnam is a feeling that has permeated every bit of my displaced self.
I miss the friendly conversations and the grinning masses of the Vietnamese. Never have I seen such happy people and even in the face of poverty or hunger, their shining smiles and senses of humor brought a suspension of reality, where it didn’t matter how hard things may be because if you can share a laugh, then everything works out.
We have everything here in the States. Everything. Except the realization of value. We don’t know what it’s like to be poor (by poor I mean without possessions) en masse, as an entire society so we have nothing to strive for. Except more possessions. Those who live without luxury understand the earth, those in the dirt know nature and live within it. Those who have multiple bedrooms and televisions don’t know jack sqaut about the earth. (I know, my hunter friends may track and trap, but because you love to, not because you have to.) Have you slept on wood beds and lived in tiny houses with 5 relatives with no running water?
Those I met who didn’t have a lot inside their houses they sure were a happy bunch. Family, laughter, food and friends. No sofas or tables or desks or chairs but they had everything they needed. And for the Vietnamese who do have wealth and fortune, well, they’re chasing us Yankees to see who can have the most gadgets and flash.
Most importantly, I miss the heat in Vietnam. The need to find a cold beverage for mere survival. I miss the availability of fresh foods on the street, miss the balance of meat and vegetable and the sauce and spice, the purity and complexity of a simple meal. The way I’d sweat and groan after climbing a few flights of stairs, the reprieve of the shade and how sitting and watching and talking was at least an hour out of each day.