It’s been a while since I journeyed over to Tro Tro street. Evelyn knows this, and greets me in kind.

Long time!

How are you? All good?

Yes, good to see you!

I do my business and exchange cedis with her. She’s always happy to see her customers. And we’re happy to see her. I’m here for a 10-pack (okay, that’s not an actual thing, but 10 beers) of green cans, for tonight’s poker game.

Four loose, chilled and sweaty cans, into my backpack

Six warm ones secured, on my bike’s back rack

She seems impressed with my bungee technique. I feel proud.

I flash back to our first weeks after hitting the ground. A trip on foot to Evelyn’s was a real-life adventure. Out the gate, down to the corner. A bustling street, notable for having a sidewalk. In our house, it’s forever referred to as ‘the one with the sidewalk’.

Because no sidewalks, people here walk on the road. A bit of nimble footwork, head on a swivel, and trust in driver awareness. It’s not always safe. Roads are narrow, and on streets without speed humps (rare) or potholes (rarer), cars have full license to fly. This is one of those rare streets, so I’m grateful for the sidewalk.

Even if it’s only 25 meters long. Which, as sidewalks go, is not particularly long. Like, what? Uh, guess it ends here then.

So, anyway. At once I’m both on and immediately off the sidewalk and back to walk on the road. And crossing at this intersection is a bit harrowing. It’s a T, which in theory should make it a simple cross. Unfortunately this T doesn’t seem to have a set traffic plan, and the huge drainage trench making its way right into the middle of the street makes any intended pattern a challenge. Cars swerve and dance to avoid the drain and each other, always flowing here and there. Keeping things moving.

So, head on a swivel, ready for all comers, I dodge waddle sprint across exhale. Piece of cake.

The side street is lined with container shops. Not shops that sell containers, sorry. Shops that live inside converted shipping containers. A cornucopia is at your feet here (no sidewalks, sorry again). Plumbing supplies, hardware, nail and hair salons (Esty’s seems like a go-to), convenience stores.

And Evelyn’s, too.

Today’s trip is less adventure, more comfort.

And a chance to remember how far I’ve come.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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