I duck into a place called Musik Coffee near my hotel in order to escape an obnoxious pedi-cab driver who was stalking me. I’m the only customer. The place is decorated with Elvis and Michael Jackson stuff but the “musik” is by boy bands. A young woman takes my order – fruit plate and espresso, ordered right off the menu. I’m using their wi-fi connection when I notice that about a half hour has passed with no sign of my order, and she’s on the phone. Then a young man comes in the front door, removes his coat and gets to work in the back. Ten minutes and here comes the fruit plate and espresso, brought by the waitress with mimed apologies. Both are excellent. Guy puts on coat and leaves.
Is it me? Last night I couldn’t get my waiter to understand the “rum and coke” concept.
When I get back to the hotel the entrance is outlined in pink and red balloons forming a heart shape, and there is a professional picture of a handsome young Vietnamese couple on the outside stoop. A wedding, the doorman says, and inside the whole hotel is rocking to the sound of martial karaoke music from the second floor. It is 12:45 pm. Why are they getting married on a Monday, I ask the young woman at the front desk. Because this is the day the fortune teller picked for them she says. “It is important to have your wedding on the correct day.”
I arrange at the front desk to take a bus south to Hoi An on Wednesday. I had wanted to take the train but the receptionist talked me into the bus, which will pick me up right outside the hotel at 8 am. Total bus fare: $5.74 for the three-hour trip. By the time I’m done making these arrangements so is the wedding party, and the revelers file out at 1:15.
Kinh Durong Vuong ascended the throne in the year Nham Tuat (that is, prior to 2,000 B.C.). He married the daughter of Than Long (Dragon God), King of Dong Dinh Lake. His wife gave birth to a son named Sung Lam, who subsequently married Fairy Au Co who gave birth to a sac of 100 eggs. From those eggs hatched out 100 sons who became the ancestors of the Bach Viet (hundred Viet) ethnic groups.
One day King Lac Long Quan told his wife, “I am descended from the Dragon, while you are a Fairy. Our natures are very different, like fire and water. Therefore, we can hardly live together.” …
How typical that he came to this realization about mixed marriages only after she bore him a sac of 100 eggs, and had lost her girlish thorax.