Archives For Travel

On the first day of a new English class, there are four symbols drawn on the whiteboard: a square, a triangle, a “Z” and a circle. The students are asked to quietly select one that resonates the most with them. After a few moments, we hear their reasons and I reveal what each symbol means about their personality.

A square would be someone who was ambitious. A triangle would be the natural-born leader. “Z” would be the creative type. And the circle would be the “party animal” — the people person.

There are many who picked the last and each has their reasons: it’s easy on the eyes, it has a sense of harmony, it’s simple, and, my favorite, it has no beginning and no end.

In our lives, we see circles all the time. Like the water cycle or the natural life of plants, trees, and flowers. We have chaos and order. The light and the dark. And even life and death.

The endpoint of this post is focused on the story of a particular night in March 2015 when I was just starting my relationship with Bunny and we were coming home from the cinema. We were heading up the ramp of the underground parking lot when the shit hits the fan (a circular motion) and it almost resulted in the injury or possible death of myself, her, and a pair of security guys pushing a shopping cart down the ramp. All because of Speed Demon, my Honda Dream II motorcycle, and the accidental circus trick of spinning it around in a death spin with one hand while off the bike.

But before we get there, I wanted to think about another circus-like trick that involves circles, motorcycles, and fire — Vietnamese ladyboys doing their “ring of fire” dance in the middle of a busy street with other motorists not knowing what the fuck is happening. So, this one does connect with defying death, in a way.

But, let’s take with the term: ladyboy.

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There were bumps and scratches and scrapes during my teaching stint in Ho Chi Minh City. Molasses of traffic. Wipeouts. Jaywalkers. Floods. Machete fights. Purse snatchers. And even a heart-pounding stare-off with a random psycho that almost resulted in a Road Rash-like duel (but minus the safety gear and add in the fake Abercombie shirts).

Real hard shit like that.

This was a country that had random stories of people getting into disputes like saying the price of a sugarcane drink was too expensive by 5000 VND (~25 cents CAD) to killing each other over the gender of the bull on a can of Redbull.

redbull

Yeah.

I’m not saying it’s all twisted. Riding around on a motorbike has its own benefits and pleasures. You’re fully immersed and constantly aware of your surroundings without a wall of glass to hide behind. It’s only when you are driving stupid or like an asshole, while living in a city full of assholes that you could easily fuck up and die.

This incident is always a first that comes to mind. A solo stopping act that made my heart leap through my throat and into my mouth.

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Return of the Jim

April 26, 2016 — Leave a comment
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“Two of Us” 

 

Long time ago, I walked away from a dream.

It’s still there. Hanging out on the streets of Toronto. Only getting up to wander at the early hours of the morning. Talking about how we’re going to do this and how we’re going to do that.

While that is happening, I’m waaaaay over here… across two continents and a sprawl countries and an ocean… deep in the urban jungle of a bipolar city… taking on the tropical heat and the torrent of flooding streets… I’m doing what people say I’m doing, I’m simply living.

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