. . . this was going on in Saigon:
According to my wife, who returned from Shangai safely last night, today there are just a lot of fireworks going on in Saigon. I wouldn't know, as I am in Kon Tum. I got here from Pleiku yesterday afternoon. Kon Tum is nice – I decided to stay here for two nights instead of going back to Pleiku today. I wasn't too impressed with Pleiku. Yesterday I borrowed a bicycle from my hotel and cruised around Kon Tum. It's small but kind of pretty – in the mountains and right on the banks of a river. The people are really friendly here. Basically people in Vietnam seem to be friendlier everywhere I go outside of Saigon. Then I have to remind myself that living in Saigon – with it's 10 MILLION FREAKING PEOPLE – is like living in a bigger version of New York. You wouldn't really be surprised if people were friendlier in, say rural Georgia than in New York – and that's what it's like going elsewhere in Vietnam.
Also the people here seem to be very impressed that I as a foreigner can speak a little Vietnamese. I am like a minor celebrity in Kon Tum. I'm kind of like the Corey Haim of Kon Tum. Wait, isn't he dead? Strike that. I'm kind of like the Corey Feldman of Kon Tum. Is he dead too? I'm not sure. Let's just say I'm the Abe Vigoda of Kon Tum. Dead?
I'm a little drunk right now. Both days I've been here I've had lunch at a great vegetarian restaurant where a huge meal costs 12,000 dong – about 60 cents. And both nights I've had dinner at a restaurant called Dakbla's that is really good. I had about four big beers with dinner tonight – talking to some English guy traveling through Vietnam.
MY FREAKING EAR IS KILLING ME!!! I had an ear infection 10 days or so ago – I think I mentioned that on this blog. I went to the dr. and got prescribed some antibiotics. Took them for 5 days and thought my ear was better. Now it's back with a vengeance. I can't sleep at night and it feels like there is liquid in my left ear. It's weird. I am seriously worried that I'm going to lose hearing in my left ear. I went to a dr. here in Kon Tum today and got prescribed some different antibiotics. And the doctor told me "If you want to enhance the effects of the antibiotics, make sure you drink a lot of alcohol." Not really. I don't think you're supposed to drink alcohol with antibiotics. Oh well, it's only my hearing.
After the dr. prescribed the antibiotics, I filled my "prescription" – you don't even need a prescription in Vietnam – you can walk into any pharmacy and buy whatever you want – I bought the antibiotics at the little pharmacy attached to the dr.'s office. The woman working in the pharmacy was adamant that I go ahead and take the first round of antibiotics right then, and I said okay. She asked me if I had any water on me, and I said I didn't but would go buy some. She said "No, we've got some water there in the waiting room." I went in there and they had like a five-liter jug of water with one plastic cup sitting on top of it. I was like I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to drink out of one communal cup in a Vietnamese doctor's office. I came in with an ear infection and I'll leave with elephantitis of the scrotum or something equally abhorrent. (Is there anything truly equally as abhorrent as elephantitis of the scrotum?) Anyway, I declined the communal cup and went and bought some water of my own.
I'm going to bed now. I realize that this blog has reached a low point when I start writing about elephantitis of the scrotum and I apologize profusely. BUT MY FREAKING EAR!!!