Thomas Fowler in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American:
“I can’t say what made me fall in love with Vietnam –
that a woman’s voice can drug you;
that everything is so intense.
The colors, the taste, even the rain.
Nothing like the filthy rain in London.
They say whatever you’re looking for, you will find here.
They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes,
but the rest has got to be lived.
The smell: that’s the first thing that hits you,
promising everything in exchange for your soul.
And the heat. Your shirt is straightaway a rag.
You can hardly remember your name,
or what you came to escape from.
But at night, there’s a breeze.
The river is beautiful.
You could be forgiven for thinking there was no war;
that the gunshots were fireworks;
that only pleasure matters.
A pipe of opium, or the touch of a girl who might tell you she loves you.
And then, something happens,
as you knew it would.
And nothing can ever be the same again…”
“They say you come to Vietnam and understand a lot in a few minutes.
The rest has got to be lived.
They say whatever it was you were looking for,
you will find here.
They say there is a ghost in every house,
and if you can make peace with him,
he will stay quiet.”
photo courtesy of flickr