Keep calm and pull on your poncho

I sing Hanoi’s hardy two-wheel drivers:
load-carrying magicians, traffic connivers.


When clouds decide to let torrents free,
they slip into something a little less comfy

then go back to delivering kegs, chickens, crops
so fast they dodge ’bout half the raindrops.


They poncho up, these fearless riders:
bicycle pedalers, motorbike striders.

The hanger-on-back just an extra bump
under the liner, like a camel, two humps.


The deluge could thunder like this all day,
but they just shrug and sigh and say,

“It’s part of life, this getting wet.
We gotta get where we gotta get!”

Photo: Note the high heels!

Take Long Bien bridge over the river,
water and wind makes you shiver.

Hail, storm, and lightning so hard to ignore!
Yet a whole city rides on through the downpour.


So inspiring, so courageous, so colorful: it’s huge!
I’ll poncho, like them, through any deluge.


I happened on something really cool last week

Last week I looked up the street and saw a bunch of colorfully dressed people standing around. Hey, a parade about to start! I stuck around to watch.

There were dragon and lion dancers. Drummers and bands. Altars and palanquins carried on shoulders. Some mean looking dudes all dressed in black. And lovely yellow-robed ladies swaying in unison.

Here’s dragons!


And then a palanquin so tall it didn’t fit under some of the things hung in its path, while a soldier waited to keep an intersection clear for the procession.

Apparently, it’s common for local temples to have their own little festival, which might include a parade, in the month or so after Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of the lunar new year. I’m glad I caught this one.

Finally, here’s a quick video so you can see (and hear) everything in motion, a little bit as I saw it.