Friday, January 11, 2013

A bus ride

We’re on the move again. This time a short 4-hour bus ride (which ends up being 6, because we have the slowest driver in Vietnam) from Nha Trang to Mui Ne. From the bus I see the world passing by outside the window. A stark white egret flapping over lush green fields. Fields dotted with workers in nón lá (conical hats). A calf nestles it’s mother who’s tethered to a fence post by the roadside. Walls of smoke from garbage being burned in the ditches. Walls of smoke inside our bus from our driver who chain smokes. Barefoot children laugh and chase each other. A moto, it’s driver wearing a Hello Kitty helmet, has a large makeshift crate lashed to the back. The crate is full of live dogs. Our bus honks loudly, passing tanker trucks and squeezing back into our lane just as the oncoming traffic passes. Fronds of palm trees sway up high as people sit below, on tiny plastic chairs, at tiny plastic tables, eating and drinking. Cobs of golden corn lie in the sun, drying on bright blue tarps. Men, barefoot, pile bundles of sticks in the back of a truck. A picture of Beyonce on a sign for a salon. Birds sit on the backs of cows. Through it all our bus plows, honking the whole way, barely slowing down enough to let on an old man who flags down the bus. A Vietnamese bus is never full until people are sitting in the aisles.

I want to capture these images with words, because my camera has ceased to function. It was working, and then it wasn’t. No reason. I am sad, because it was my first DSLR. I’ve had it for eight years. We’ve traveled a lot of places, that camera and I, and I had hoped it would have been with me for the rest of this trip. And I am daunted at the prospect of having to spend hard-earned trip savings on a new camera. But luckily we will be in HCMC in a couple of days, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find something for the right price.

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