Friday, February 13, 2009

Birding Vietnam... The Easy Way? (not)

I imagine birding Vietnam would be one hell of an adventure, in real life. In this dream, my subconscious decided to pull out a lot of the stops. This will make sense soon, I assure...

I rent a bike near a dock, and pedal a short distance to a cafe. Intuition tells me I'm in Saigon/HCMC. It is hazy, mid-morning and already mercilessly sunny. I am stopping at the local hash house to inquire about a birding guide. A young woman there
(waitress?) understands me just well enough to explain to me, just well enough, how this is accomplished. Almost immediately I find a young man who claims to be up to the task. [NOTE: even by this point in the dream I have an "uneasy" feeling, like danger is imminent.] He informs me that before we go we must practice some martial arts. He wants to be sure I am able to defend myself - just in case. Oiy! Next is a brief scene, right out of "The Matrix", where I prove my mettle.

We head off on the bike again. Yes, one bike two people. I believe I'm standing up pedaling while he sits (how very magnanimous of my subconscious). Our first target is to be a preserve very close by (Reunification Palace garden?). After this it is on to some shorebirding (Cat Tien National Park?). Before we arrive at our first destination, I notice a middle-aged caucasian couple following us. Not only did they stick out for obvious reasons, but they also dressed like lawyers or executives. Veerrry subtle.

We soon leave the bike, continuing on foot. Thinking quickly, I buy some overripe, deep red, fruit at a sidewalk bazaar. I give several of these to what appears to be a homeless woman begging. In her jubilance at receiving such a windfall, she cries out. One of the fruits is squeezed hard enough to burst scarlet all down her front. Ignored before her paroxism, a growing number of people misread the scene and react as if she's been assaulted and hurt. The effect of this pandemonium is a sidewalk well blocked. My companion and I take this opportunity to promptly decamp en-masse.

After a few quick blocks we notice another bistro and enter. I know you saw this coming, but sure enough already there (but clearly not expecting US) is the spy couple. I immediately walk over to their booth and very publically greet them. Though my actions draw attention to all of us (especially them), my words only draw attention to the fact that I'm on to them. In their faces I read a strained mixture of frustration and unmistakable shock. Priceless!

End scene... and dream.

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