The clouds lie heavy
Oppressive and grey
And the dust rises from the concrete
To meet the surly sky.
Outside the bustling city
Life is lethargic and stifled
Like a blade of grass
Trying to grow up through tarmac.
Our bus driver sounds his horn incessantly
As is the custom here
And fellow road users
(Mostly big trucks)
Blare back at him
But the poor in their flat conal
hats walk quietly
With slow steps along the dusty roadside
Or pedal their rusty bikes
Carrying their meagre wares
Or simply sit on the verges
With 2 or 3 pineapples
Spread before them.
The houses are small and ramshackle
Built of stone with terracotta roof tiles
Like medieval village houses in Europe
Or they are 5 or 6 stories high
But curiously never more than a room width wide.
A shiny black Mercedes S class
Overtakes our bus
The driver in a tearing hurry.
The suffering of the poor
Is a slow, weary acceptance
Of what is now and probably will be tomorrow.
But the suffering of the rich is a hot quick thing
Of what isn't, of what should be
And of what MUST be tomorrow.
Hanoi Social Club
A place where Social means
That it helps society
In this case, they help people
From disadvantaged backgrounds
And train them to become exceptional chefs and waiting staff
And the result is,
Some of the best vegan food
In south East Asia.
One thousand years of being a capital
Of countless foreign invasions
From East, from West.
And still the old trees
Line the narrow streets
And the people, polite and courteous
Drink endless cups of tea
Outside crumbling doorways
And drivers sound their horns
For no apparent reason
And sidewalks are for parking motorbikes
And street vendors to place their wares.
I step inside an ancient Chinese doorway
To a mysterious Chinese temple
And find myself in a leafy, shady courtyard
Where the constant din of the street
- ▼ December (6)