Viet'friggin'Nam,you wretchid, misbegotten country. It all piles up, so thoroughly obnoxious in its endless harrassment of the Merlins. Each day brings forth new trials and tribulations for us to endure and overcome.
Let me begin with our home. We loved it at first, with it's many balconies and outdoor areas. We had a lovely view of a lake that was mere meters from our front door, and the blissful respite of the awful calamity that is the streets of Hanoi. Peaceful, tranquil and pleasant, it was to be our haven from the din and our temporary escape from Vietnam. Unfortunately that was not to last.
The lake was drained a few short weeks past our arrival, and has yet to be refilled. There is a resort that is being built on the lake and the construction goes in to the wee hours of the morning. In the place of the lake there is now a grassy, swampy, stagnant little field that has become over run with bullfrogs.
What started off as a puzzleing noise shortly after the lake was dammed, leaving us scratching our heads and pondering the strange sound that was echoing off of the lake. It kind of sounded like a cross between a small barking dog and a duck, except it was maddeningly loud. Night after night this strange noise was growing exponentially until there was no relief from the endless wall of noise flowing from the swamp. Bullfrogs! They were provided with a perfect wetland breeding ground that has seen a bumper crop. There are so many baby frogs hopping out of the swamp, accross the road and in to everyones yards that I kill a dozen or so every evening while I am driving toward the house. It is not my intention to kill these baby frogs and toads, but after a few nights of pointless swerving I just gave up, as there is no way to avoid them. So after my 400 meter dash down the narrow road to our house where I am popping frogs like plastic bubble wrap, the entire way, I find myself parking my bike. Then as I shut off my engine, the roar of the frogs hits me.
This is bad enough in itself. But, add to that a loudspeaker posted on a power pole directly in front of our house that begins a Vietnamese rant at 8am that lasts long in to the morning. I have no idea what it is stating but I am sure it is some kind of Socialist propaganda. Every once and a while some awful warbleing Vietnamese music will blast out of the speakers as well. The longest run was just last Sunday. YES, Sunday! Where it started at 8am and didn't stop until mid afternoon. It is so loud that in our bedroom with the doors and windows shut and the AC rattleing it is still as clear and loud as if it were playing in our own room.
Karen and I have already talked about aquiring a shotgun to end this awful annoyance once and for all. We are at the end of our rope. Due to it's location, throwing rocks or bricks at it is not an option as there are houses directly across the street from us and we would hit the houses if we missed the speaker.
So now, as we count the days until we are finally rid of this awful country, seemingly designed to frustrate and annoy the Western visitor, we can only hope that we will find some peace and quiet in these last remaining months.
Pray for us,