31 August 2005

A Dragon Would Be Nice

What a wonderful morning! I popped in a taxi and went back downtown, planning to go to a café I’d found yesterday. But there, across the street was an even better looking one. I strolled over and took a seat at a table under a huge umbrella.

Since it is off a main drag, the noise from the traffic was greatly diminished and, not only that, they had some funky, new-age-ish Italian music flowing from the outdoor sound system. I sipped ice coffee and spied on the people who came and went.

Across the street is a monstrous brick church that, when I first saw it said, Damn, Notre Dame in the middle of Saigon! And darned if it really isn’t called ‘Notre Dame’. I swore I would not include a picture of a French cathedral in South East Asia, but somehow it snuck into the background of my first shot of the day, and then I just couldn’t resist the wedding party. But that is it for Catholicism in my writings.

It would have been nice to stay at the coffee shop all morning, however I can only sit for so long. I paid up and went out to see what else I could find in the way of escape-from-work venues. Barring going into the big hotels, which might or might not have roof-top dining, I didn’t find a whole lot. Time to mosey on by the US Consulate.

Now, if I have my story straight, the consulate sits where that US embassy used to be. (Does that mean it is a completely new structure? I’m still working on the facts). I wanted to see if it looked anything like those pictures from so long ago.

One can see the 400 foot concrete wall barricading the front of the Consulate from several blocks away. As I approached, I tentatively reached for my camera. I knew what the answer would be prior to talking to the security detail, but I went ahead and asked, Can I take pictures? I chatted with the friendly Vietnamese guards for several minutes, then went across the street and took a picture. (power to the people?)

I ended up back at a different outdoor café, ate, drank water, and tried to figure out the tattoos on the guy’s arms sitting at a table in front of me. I need a tattoo.
Don’t think Vietnam is known for them. May have to wait until I can get to Thailand.