Christmas Eve definitely was the night to get a takeaway bottle of Chilean wine from the Vietnamese restaurant in Hoi An. The manager was perfectly happy to gather us up some paper cups.
We take the bottle down by the river along the north bank of the river island. We plant ourselves on the sidewalk and watch the night unfold.
Tourists are buying floating candles to put in the river with their end of the year wishes written in them. It gives the river a beautiful glow. Tomorrow is Christmas. The river is decorated in a fusion of Western and Asian decorations. There are Vietnamese men dressed as Santa Clause trying to lure you into their restaurant. There is a tree and a giant Chinese lantern. Wine was definitely a good choice (thanks Kate).
That’s when the local spots us. She comes over to us and impersonates a drunk person. We offer her a swig and she accepts but only just one. She’s laughing…actually, she is cracking herself up. There is no shared language but she stays to chat and laugh.
Somehow I get the impression that she thinks I’m of good stock. Maybe it was because she sat on my folded leg. It barely faltered under her tiny frame. I’m Cao. I thankfully learned early in the trip this word is Vietnamese for tall. For a short time I thought all the women were calling me a cow!
Her friends soon join us. We find ourselves in a yoga squat. She jumps on my back in a fit of laughter just to test out my stock once more…or that’s what I assume. A local man wants a picture of the commotion.
Then abruptly, her and her friends depart. They hop in their canoes and make their way up the river, as one does.
Merry Christmas and Tạm biệt my friend.