This morning I risk the dangers of the world outside my hotel for a breakfast coffee. I have several hours to kill before I am whisked away to the challenge of a governmentless Singapore (Parliament has been dissolved prior to an imminent though undated election) - how will we survive?
I walk past the Restaurant of the Gate.
I follow the conical hat of a vendor woman carrying her wares on a yoke.
My café from last night has no free tables, so I amble down a bit further, take a seat outside a likely one and I order a "white" coffee...
I relax and watch a world of pretty and slim women glide by.
Hà Nôi. Ya gotta love it.
A pair of parking touts are multi-tasking as shoe-shine men. One bends to the customer on the table next to me and removes his shoes, offering plastic slippers in return. He walks back to the low concrete wall around a tree boll where his shine set-up is waiting. A slight limp mars his gait - his left knee appears extremely loose. He polishes the shoes with a small paint-brush, dipping it repeatedly in some clear liquid, perhaps Kiwi polish melted into hot water. The shoes have a shiny veneer, waiting to dry.
And OK, not "all" the women are slim and not "all" the women are pretty. In fact quite a few are dog ugly. A chubby lady walks past in a trouser suit of what could only be described as ridiculously floral pajamas and wearing a pale fedora-shaped hat with a very large bow tied at the back. She would look ridiculous in any other setting, but here no-one gives her a second glance. SHE is not attractive.
Only school-girls, hookers and air hostesses wear ao dai. Most wear jeans. On their motorcycles, during the sunny days, many ladies wear shoulder length gloves, Gilligan's Island type hats and scarves wrapped across their faces tied over their silly hats. The don't want to get a tan, generate darkening melanin, it makes them look "country", farming-class poor.
Safety Note: Of the thousands of motorcycle riders that went past me this morning, only one - a pillion passenger - wore a helmet.
Must rush, time to check out. Sorry for any typos - will spell-check when I get home.
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
someone said tonight, maybe the "white" refers to the color of the cup???