Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Red-Heads In 'Nam

(PICTURE: Brett busy reading my blog at work)

Despite having been in Asia for two months, I'm still not over the feeling that people look at me as if I have three heads whenever I walk down the street. People still turn in wonderment, children still yell out "hello" followed by a giggle, and motorbike drivers --even if I'm standing next to my motorbike holding a helmet-- ask me if I need a ride. 

That said, I was thinking yesterday: "If they think I'm a freak, I wonder how they would react to a pale red-head." Just like birds in Guangzhou, I haven't seen a red-head in 'Nam yet. They just don't exist. Nada. Zilch. None.  Speaking of red-heads, I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite one-- Happy Birthday, Brett!

In other news, I was told the other night that during the rainy season my alleyway floods about two feet high. Thank goodness my room is on the second floor! 

Motorbikes and Massages

(PICTURE: Me on my bike in Da Nang) 

This morning I bought two helmets: one for me and one for you. Yup, you, my future visitor. One helmet is maroon and the other is black. You can choose which you want. 

After purchasing the helmets, Steve, Ryan and I drove around Ha Noi for a few hours. I thought the best way to get used to the city was just to get lost in it. We ended up going around the largest lake in Ha Noi and finding a great breakfast spot for American breakfast. On the way back towards my house I nearly got into my first accident. I was making a right turn and some punk and his girlfriend/sister was making a left onto the street I was on. We both slammed on our brakes, smiled at each other and drove off. We were probably lucky not to hit each other but even if we did I would have been fine with my new solid Honda bike helmet. 

This afternoon we all decided to get massages. We went to a  place called, "Just Massages" in some alley in my neighborhood. It's a pretty famous place because it gives seeing impaired people jobs as masseuses. This may sound familiar since I blogged in Shanghai about a famous "blind masseuse." Well, apparently they are everywhere and I'm 99% sure that none of the employees are actually blind. Okay, that's not totally true since when I was waiting for my massage in the lobby a woman literally walked into me and slammed her elbow into my head. Standing behind her was some guy who motioned to me that she couldn't see. That said, the guy who gave me a massage (yes, a jokes Hannah) had perfect vision. He also had a love of dishing out pain. I asked for a shiatsu massage rather than a Swedish one because my back has been killing me. Well the guy proceeded to torture me for an hour. Some of the worst moments were when:
a) he pulled my hair for literally 10 minutes
b) he punched me in the back about fifty times
c) he gave me an indian burn on my ears
d) he found/pushed/elbowed every pressure point in my body
e) he gave each one of my fingers an indian burn
f) he pushed my eye-sockets backwards
g) he stretched me in positions that even yoga masters couldn't do

Anyway, I'm 99% sure I'm going to have a dozen black and blue marks tomorrow but my back is actually feeling pretty good. 

Off to dinner in a bit...

The Tickle Bug

(PHOTO: Ryan and I introducing Hien to the tickle bug)

I awoke yesterday morning with a text message from Hien: "I miss traveling." Well, Ryan and I miss having Hien traveling with us...and not just because she translates everything for us.