Monday, February 7, 2011

A multi-part post...

in which Yours Truly once again risks life, limb, sanity, and soul braving the howling maw of Tet-related HCMC fun and Vietnamese pop culture.

I went to Dam Sen Water Park today, and wow. I'm too tired to get into it much, but I want to preview this odyssey by simply stating that there were two stages in this water park. It's not very big, with maybe a dozen water slides, and a further dozen assorted other water-esque attractions, but even so, the designers felt compelled to have two stages for...what, exactly?

Both stages were in continuous use the whole five hours I was there.

I should backtrack here and say that the Vietnamese cannot seem to resist the urge to American Idol-ize any vaguely appropriate place. Toy store? Boy band! Mall? Dance squad! Water park? Two stages with resident pop stars!

The first stage, I get. It's right when you walk in, and bam! You can see a pair of ten-year-old girls dancin' up a storm. Or the group of women in traditional Vietnamese clothing shakin' what God give 'em. Or Dam Sen Water Park's own resident pop star (!) Tranh Huy! singin' and shimmyin' and breakin' hearts. (I find leaving the terminal g's off my continuous-tense verbs adds sass, and I like sass.)

It's the second stage that baffles me. It's at the far end of an enormous wave pool. Who does this? Aren't people going to be busy, you know, playing Marco Polo and swimming? Who puts a stage at the deep end of a wave pool?

The amazing minds who designed Dam Sen water park, that's who.

Modern scienticians assure me the conversation went something like this:

"I dunno…I feel like there's a lack of something…some zazzle, some get-down-to-funkytown element just isn't all the way here yet."

"We could throw in another stage."

"Perfect! Where do we already have a bunch of people standing around, not doing anything?"

"Let's put the second stage at the deep end of the giant pool."

"No, no, people in the giant pool are gonna be playing Marco Polo and, I dunno, swi--YES! THE GIANT POOL--"


"Yeah, because recycled American pop tunes sung by jazz-handing tweens, and dance moves performed by wholesome yet still vaguely sexy adults, are just, just better when a metric ton of water is slapping you in the face every 8 seconds."

"God, I admire you."

Or am I Americanizing things too much?

More to come.


  1. This doesn't really pertain to this post specifically, but I've been following your progress and I wanted to say how much I like that you're documenting it; partially I like it on your behalf, because I think having a record will be something you'll treasure years from now.

    But mostly it's selfish -- right now, and for the foreseeable future, I'm living the opposite of the life you're describing, and having an account like this, where you bring so much of yourself to the telling, is pretty poignant. It makes me jealous, honestly, and wistful. Which is what a good travelogue should do.

  2. Thanks, Shane. I'm glad you're enjoying; frankly, I'm really enjoying writing it, the more so since it's basically the only writing I've done in the last year. I can't seem to get back into fiction--still way too self-critical.

    What has you stuck? I ask because I thought I was, but found that this massive change was accomplished much easier than I thought. Obviously, though, I had the freedom--from career and family concerns, primarily--to do it.

  3. Career and family concerns. :)