Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Noise, dates, and anagrams. And a touch of diarrhea.

I can handle the heat. I can handle the unusual, and even unprecedented smells (I've never smelt water-buffalo shit before.) I can handle the crowds, the traffic, the smog, the water that gives you diarrhea, the food that gives you diarrhea, the air that gives you diarrhea, and the proximity to the above, which gives you diarrhea. I can handle all the various governmental insanities that have plagued my quest for a work permit so far.

I cannot handle the noise.

Saigon is loud. It's like living in the belly of a flying 747, and then there's all the noises that rise above this background. Like massive trucks honking outside at 5 in the morning--even on the 25th floor, this is still loud. Or the herd of motorbiking enthusiasts who have all purchased surplus US police-issue sirens (talk about a heart-attack: "Oh Jesus! The commies heard all those awful jokes I was making about pissing on Uncle Ho's tomb!") Or the real emergency vehicles, who have turned their sirens up to 11. In fairness, though, how else could they be heard? Then there is the constant construction; the city is flying up--and falling down--at speeds normally associated with time-lapse videos.

Maybe it's because I'm deaf. Maybe it's also because Vietnamese women speak in tiny, teensy, quiet little voices, as though to be heard is to be unladylike. I've been on several dates recently with a handful of Vietnamese women, and I find myself just getting more and more frustrated. And no, not for those reasons, but simply because I cannot hear anything my dates say when we're out in public.

It kinda kills the mood to be asking someone to repeat themselves twenty or thirty times.

I'm sure I will adjust. All the rest really doesn't bother me. For every other problem, there's a solution. Chunks of mystery grit sandblasting your face as you ride? Get a mask and goggles! And hey, this also solves the problems of sunburn, windburn, pollution burn, and glare. Too hot? I have two words for you: AC. Or two letters. Or a single abbreviation. Or is it an anagram?

I hope in time I will discover the solution to the noise problem, but really, it may just turn out to be going all the way deaf.

And actually, I seem to have avoided the worst of the traveler's misery--whaddya call it here, Ho Chi Minh's Revenge, maybe? Just a few days of upset stomachs, and voila, I was off the toilet and on my feet again.

No comments:

Post a Comment