I’m back in Long Xuyen for a weekend and to attend a good friend’s wedding. It was a grueling bumping bus ride with a rather surly looking driver and a guy at a pit stop who, after practicing some Vietnamese with him, asked for my earrings.

The road became worse after the stop. I couldn’t sleep fearing injury. I was sitting behind the surly-faced driver and leaned forward, trying to will him to drive faster. We finally made it to the ferry. The ferry means only a few more minutes, on a smooth road, to the Long Xuyen bus station. I hopped on a motorbike. “Take me to An Giang University!” I was back in lovely, dusty, dirty, sometimes boring, Long Xuyen. I really missed this place, after being gone for only 16 days or so.

Breakfast this morning was with Jack, eating our rice and pork and drinking a few pots of tea. Jack is in the process of cleaning out his room and getting rid of stuff that he isn’t going to take back to the States. I inherited more books, clothes, a chessboard, a map of America, etc. But I was itching to drive the motorbike. I hopped on Abe (previously Jack I and were thinking that he needs to be renamed) just to cruise Long Xuyen a little. After 11 kicks, a cloud of black smoke, and fiddling with the choke he was running. I flew down the dirt road, nursing the throttle when the clutch was in to keep it alive. Out to Vo Thi Sau street, over the bridges, dodging buses and swerving around bikes and pushcarts, digging the men squatting barechested in the shade. I went looking for a cart on the side of the road that offers watch repair, but of course when I was seeking it, it disappeared.

The wind was in my rather Dylanesque-pompadour hair and the sun was dancing through the clouds–ecstasy in being.


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