1/10/10: Central Highlands, Vietnam
K: When you write today’s post, are you going to write about the kid peeing on the floor?
Z: I hadn’t planned on it.
K: Oh. I would write a whole post about that.
Z: I know you would.
K: So will you include it?
Z: I don’t know, it didn’t seem that strange to me.
K: Why, because you used to pee on the floor when you were a baby?
Z: Probably. You know babies in China just have holes in their onesies and whenever they need to go they just go?
K: Do they wipe after themselves?
Z: … I doubt it.
It’s funny how different things stick out to the two of us even when we have the same experiences every day. But back to the kid peeing on the floor.
This morning, Mui took us to visit a Mnong (one of the largest ethnic minorities in Vietnam) family that lives in a small village on Lak Lake. The Mnong build their bamboo and wood houses on stilts, with cracks in the floor. The cracks in the floor have many uses, we were told, such as allowing heat from the sleeping animals underneath to warm up the house at night, as an ashtray, and apparently, for small children, as a toilet.
We were invited into the family’s house and sat with the dad and Mui and learned about the Mnong culture and way of life. While the four of us were chatting, the youngest of the nine kids ran around the house pants-less with one of his older sisters chasing him and trying to catch him to put pants on him, presumably so as not to offend our modest Western sensibilities. She eventually succeeded, but a few minutes later, as Mui was in the middle of explaining to us how important their homemade rice wine is to the Mnong, Kevin poked me in the side and whispered, “Look over there!” I turned in the direction he was pointing, and there it was – a puddle on the floor of the house. And next to the puddle was the kid. And next to the kid, on the floor, were his pants. I guess he just couldn’t be bothered to climb down the ladder and go outside. And really, who can blame him?
Other noteworthy things we saw today:
I guess in the end, Kevin and I are more similar than I think – because this whole post really did end up being about the kid peeing on the floor, didn’t it?
Puzzles for Postcards
Is It a Buddhist or Hindu Anagram?
Grow a Tank
Picture of the Day: On the open (and apparently deserted) road.