Vietnam in six senses


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Taste: Fresh mint slicing into a rich meaty stock, and the mild taste of rice noodles, accentuated by the smell of scooter fumes and salt air from the sea, at roadside stalls every morning.

Sound: The woman’s voice  introducing a water puppet show, speaking formally, accentuating the clean consonants and rolling pitch of Vietnamese, with unexpected sharp dips and rises that captivate me.

Feel. The hot fester of sunburnt thighs, after an unexpected hour-long midday trip on the back of a motorbike into Nha Trang.

Smell:  Petrol – an acrid sloping whine. I’m using it to wash the sticky brown oil residue off my body after swimming at what turned out to be a polluted beach.
Sight: Granite boulders, piled like knucklebones, as large as cars, which I pick my way over, between and under to get back from the secluded coral bay at Jungle Beach.

Emotion: A bittersweet ache, standing outside Ho Chi Minh City Airport, looking over the city. Feeling deep gratitude for a rich and vibrant trip, despite my work commitments, and sadness that it has come to an end (for now) Image


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