My day was odd. I decided to have no plans and after a few glasses of self-indulgent French wine (still cheaper than 2 Oceans for those who tend towards judgement) and some bad dreams last night, this morning presented nothing other than no plans. I relented. I slept as late as two thin blankets would allow, insecurely checked my mail, drank some sickly sweet coffee at a family bakery down the road, and decided to go back to bed.
An intervention resulted in an offer to go touring with some other travellers, provided I was happy to watch rock climbing for half an hour. With a severe lack of my own imagination, I agreed. Stupidly.
I turned out to be the only non-climber. And, as with most addictions and self indulgence, one becomes many and many becomes infinite and then time doesn't matter. I lie. It goes backwards.
Except for me.
An hour or two or three or so later, I spotted a family fishing in a dam/pond of sorts. For the first time in the day, I felt remotely excited and meandered over to watch as the grandfather and daughter trawled the green, stinky, muddy pond. Grandmother would then pick up the catch. I saw this as a photo opportunity. They saw it as an intrusion. Fair enough. I dragged myself back to the rock face, at least 3 black marks against my name and burdened by a pathetic loser complex.
An hour or two or three or so later, after asking myself what I'd do if I had the full confidence I desire without crossing the border to arrogance, Linda and Jayne agreed that helping Grandmother pick up fish out of the mud and sand would be a liberating alternative to watching self indulgence.
And so, pick up fish we did.
For anybody that knows me, I'm plagued by irrational squeamishness. However, as the optimist I attempted to be, I soon realised that this mission achieved a number of things.
1) I had to pick up just-as-squeamish fish
2) I (arrogantly) got the Western climbers out of their culturally disparate comfort zone
3) I helped grandmother
4) I got a dirty, sticky and smelly hand. Just one. (I lean towards obsessive compulsive behaviour in this regard)
5) I made the family laugh
6) I made me laugh
7) I consoled fish in my head
8) I realised the power of calmness (for me and the sentenced fish)
9) I learned that some dogs and chickens would be eating fish tonight
10) I found something to do for an hour or two or three or so
11) I got the taste of local life I crave
12) I got over my inherent fear of charades
And with that, my day turned half full.
What subsequently filled it up was a Saturday. Kids like photos and so do I. So we clicked. We laughed. We wanted more. We clicked. We giggled as girls. We clicked. We jeered as boys.
I'm alive. I'm leaving tomorrow. Bus. Boat. Bus. Bus. One bus more complicated than the last trip. Naturally, I'm thrilled and anticipating at least two extra. But I'm absolutely reassured by Hung, who booked me my ticket. No, Hung wrote me my ticket. He crossed out a "Boat." I hope that isn't a prophecy.
Where should I put the pics? Perhaps a photo gallery is easier and less intrusive. Here was the full part of my day. I deleted photos of rock faces. Keith would be devastated. I am triumphant.
The kiddies (and one of me- the only reason I obliterated colour is because they are beautiful and I am pink. I hate being pink. Some call this vanity. I call it free will.):
Cat Ba Town:
Local market pics, which I am obviously obsessed with:
Fishing! Salvation. Fun. Reward. Triumph. Whatever you want to call it.
Apologies for the shift from portrait to landscapes. There is no easy way around this.
Me and a fish! An induction into living:
More market. For no reason other than I like the Caravaggio.