20 November 2006

Bush In The House

For about six months now, I have been waiting for Bush’s visit to Vietnam. As soon as I heard that he would be here for the APEC meeting, I knew I had to do some sort of subtle protest. I decided that I would wear a CODEPINK t-shirt and just sort of stroll by wherever it was he was staying. A friend even made me pink earrings to go with the outfit. All I could hope for was that some of his homies would take note; just as a reminder that even on the other side of the world, we haven’t forgotten about him.

As it turned out, he came into town on Sunday and there was no way I could partake in my mini-street theatre plan. I was booked for a Teacher’s Day reception in the evening and it would have been too much to make the trip into town twice in one day.

At 6pm, I got into a taxi wearing my brand new, pink silk, Vietnamese outfit. (more info to follow in a later posting). We drove over the bridge to District 4, and then the traffic all but stopped. I was sort of daydreaming and didn’t notice the delay for quite some time. I don’t remember ever going out on a Sunday evening, so assumed it might be the norm.

Eventually, we got through District four and into District 1, heading for District 3. As our speed increased, we zoomed by the New World Hotel, and my driver mumbled something and pointed. Half asleep, I grunted and turned my head to see if I could figure out what he had said. Oh! He had said “Bush”. Now I noticed that the streets were lined with police in flack jackets and helmets, toting weaponry. I glared at the hotel and mentally transmitted feelings of ill regard. I was glad I was wearing pink.

Turning the corner I saw that all the streets around the hotel were blockaded. I wondered why he would stay in that particular hotel. 5-star; it is not. Later that evening someone pointed out that hotels like the Hyatt and Sheraton are jammed together like sardines in the center of town, making it pretty much impossible to cordon off the area. So the big brass, for the sake of security, had to slum it, I guess.

Mental telepathy might not be the best form of protest, but it did feel good.