Small Demon
Apr 152009
 

I’ve been sitting in the Vancouver BC airport for four hours after flying in from Ottawa. My flight to Hong Kong doesn’t leave for another four hours and lasts thirteen hours! Yikes! Then I have to hang around the HK airport for several hours before flying to Hanoi. I’m unlikely to have a working brain cell by the time I get there. Had a lovely drive to the airport with Carole today — we left early enough to stop on the Black Dog Cafe in Manotick for lunch. It’s one of our favorite places and it set me up nicely for my flight. I had a window seat for this leg of my journey and the approach to Vancouver over the Cascades was breathtaking — sheer snowy ridges receding into the distance, then giving way to the green lowland plain. Breathtaking. I’ve been listening to Leonard Cohen on my iPod and reading a Patrick O’Brien sea novel, “The Truelove,” which has the virtue of holding one’s attention without taxing it. also picked up a volume of Margaret Atwood short stories that I’m looking forward to.

A couple of disappointments to report: The workshop on political poetry I was going to give at the University of Minnesota was cancelled for lack of students — I’m consoling myself that it’s the tough economy. I had also just sent off a book proposal to Oxford University Press for a little book about Vietnam and got a response today saying that it’s a great idea, which is why they recently accepted a similar proposal. I’ll send it elsewhere, but I think it would have been perfect in Oxford’s elegant series of Very Short Introductions. I have only myself to blame — I thought of this a couple of years ago but only recently typed up a proposal and sent it off. Poor timing is in some ways the story of my life.

Apr 132009
 

I’ve been very calm up to now, but leaving tomorrow for VN after eight years away has me in what a nineteenth century novel might call “a state ofnervous excietment.” I can’t say I’m looking forward to the flight, which involves around 18 hours in the air, with a couple of longish layovers that stretch the trip out past 24 hours. I will be able to avail myself of  the restorative effects of an excellent dim sum restaurant in the Hong Kong airport — I hope it hasn’t changed — which I will definately need at that point, just before I make the jump over to Hanoi, where I will arrive in the late afternoon. It’s a fairly long drive in from the airport, so my plan will be to drop my bags at the hotel, take a walk, have a light dinner and see if I am able to go to sleep. The next morning I’m going to go make some reservations at a cooking school and arrange for a language tutor — poetry will have to wait until Monday!