hoaiA man adjusts his glasses and looks out of the window, at the morning sun slowly rising. He lifts his chopsticks for his grilled fish and steamed rice breakfast, then sips his beer. He orders a Singapore Sling, then another. With the flavour of freshly warmed baguettes in the air, I order a glass of medium white for my fish and switch on the film Seven Psychopaths. The plane glides through the Pacific twilight somewhere between Tokyo and Singapore.

There is no time for Singapore Slinging or spring rolling at Changi, as my flight is delayed and the airline decides to ship five passengers to their Da Nang flight on a VIP airport buggy. The buggy driver operates the machine like it’s an accelerating rocket, whizzing pass duty-frees at 3km/h, and we make it to our empty gate as the last ones to board. I thank my chauffeur and say goodbye – it turns out I had also bit farewell to my suitcase, as I am told at the Da Nang baggage reclaim, that the ground staff at Changi could not keep up with the light-speeding buggy.

A distant karaoke tune drifts across the river, and I gaze at the cornfield on a delta across from the Café. I sit at a balcony table and stir my ca phe sua da, as the moist Hoai breeze mixes the lyrics with the shuffling sound of bamboo leaves and the chorus of the ducks next door. The sun starts to set, my duck farming neighbours blast their karaoke, and my suitcase is delivered. I forget about the snow-covered Tokyo streets, as I sit back under the Hoi An sky.

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