Local Bus

Hoi An to Qui Nohn. I share my little green-skinned oranges with the guy sitting next to me. He keeps ecstatically smelling the peel (“mmmmm!”) and putting it under my nose to smell too. He has this really expectant look on his face, as if I hadn’t smelled it before. My own orange! I play along and open my eyes wide every time at the astonishing new orange-smell. The guy sitting next to the driver, who seems to be kind of his assistant, opens the door and shouts “Qui Nohn!” at everyone we pass. A guy gets on with a basket of CDs, they usher him in with hands on his back. He holds up a CD with a picture of naked women on the cover. They all laugh, then open the door and push him out at the next intersection. An old man gets in with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, and the driver’s assistant reaches back and takes it, casually throws it out the window. The old man doesn’t even flinch.  When we stop again I can see what look like flattened miniature chickens, whole ones, being grilled on a spit in the middle of the sidewalk. At every rotation their heads flop backwards looking up to the sky with absolute abandon.

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