Jon here. A little update on travels and such. Yesterday after a long air flight delay (9 am departure shifted to 3 pm) we arrived in Hue, former long ago imperial capitol of Viet Nam. From the air we passed over areas of the once DMZ, a landscape of bomb-crater pockmarks, which looked like the signs of some kind of mineral extraction. Ride in on bus from airport showed numerous religious sites, burial grounds, temples. Hue is a small place now, much quieter that Ha Noi. We took a walk into old section, a dense communal setting of narrow alleyways, and a mix of homes opening out into the little passageways, or homes the living rooms of which are 2 seat tea houses, or selling beer from fridges. We stopped to have a dinner in a small restaurant but they refused to serve us, a bit of hostility showing. Later found a place clearly used by expats and the like, with english language sign out of very funky place, saying owner is deaf and mute, all communication by signing. Went in, food was good, as was beer, about $8 for two. 4 Aussies of my age or close sat at next table gorging and boozing. Walked back to hotel in rain, with rickshaws pulling by periodically asking if we wanted a ride.
Today is sunny and we’ll go maybe on motorbike, touring Royal sites, etc. Or we’ll walk.
In Ha Noi, we wrapped up the workshop with a look at what the students had done, which in fact came out better than I’d expected, with a few very nice things – one experimental kind of thing, which would manage OK in some festivals for such films. It was clear at least one little group had picked up on some of the things we’d tried to pass along. The rest wandered from good to dubious. Then a ceremonial wrap up with long-winded thanks and such from the Film Department folks, and then from me a short word or two. Followed with passing out little certificates, lots of photos, and then the participants took us out to a restaurant of a funky kind located on West Lake, up on a rooftop. At first dragonflies buzzed about, and as the sun settled, out came the bats, either making short work of the dragonflies, or else the insects know when to duck and cover. And then a massive thunder and lightening storm rolled in, and the hundred white swan pedal boats on the lake scooted to home-base, and our group all scooted downstairs for cover. A wonderful show of distant lightning came, but the threatened rain did not.
Tomorrow on to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which is we are told bigger and more hectic than is Ha Noi, though some Italians Marcella talked to in a Buddhist temple who were practicing some kind of sword using exercise said they preferred Saigon to Ha Noi. We’ll have 3 plus days to enjoy before we decamp for Seoul.
It for now.
Note: whatever the problem was in Ha Noi, I don’t know the origins, but apparently at least here WordPress is not censored and I’m posting this one myself.