This is translated by Bo Snitker.
Mopeds are crawling through gritty streets. There are sounds, and smells, and sights everywhere. Carefully, I walk through a half-opened door. I’m hungry and I think this is a restaurant. When I walk into the half-deserted establishment I’m met with questioning eyes but I sit down anyway. Is it Western arrogance or naïve ignorance? The staff probably thinks its Western arrogance but they help me with flair. I’m offered a menu but I have no idea what to order. I just point at something and hope for the best. I used to be a difficult eater. I would fish the, what I called frilly bits, from my spaghetti. But there is no time for this behaviour during my travels. I just eat it and see what happens. “And a beer please”, because I need one.
I’m never actually alone.
Before my travels I thought I could easily manage the loneliness but it actually feels like torture. Think, for example of my stay in Shepperton or my arrival in Ho Chi Min. As described, I have returned to Ho Chi Min after my Mui Ne Hills adventure and the loneliness has crept back into my heart. After yesterday’s events I have been crying on the shoulder of the person who I like to spent time with most. But she is further away from me now than ever before. But the thought that I might meet her somewhere is keeping me going. I understand love. I understand that love can be diminished. I understand that excitement fades like night fades before day. My heart knows that love doesn’t last and it can be quenched like fire. And that is why I’m in this chaotic city called Ho Chi Min. This city, where sensory stimulation is everywhere. This city, where it is impossible to feel alone. But in this city, which is crawling like an ant colony, I just feel more lonely and downtrodden. I need a hug or any other sign of affection from her.
I’m looking at the restaurant. Outside are a thousand noises. The half-opened door has been closed since I walked in. It looks more like an emergency exit than a regular entrance. Strange really. It is impossible for any new customers to come in because they have also closed the sliding doors. I’m the only customer. Then I see a note that explains everything. I cannot read the words but there is no mistaking the time. 14:00 – 17:00. The restaurant is closed. I have been locked in. But they serve me anyway. The food was great and drinking my beer felt like meeting up with an old friend. When I get up to pay I type a quick sentence into Google Translate. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were closed”. They give me a reassuring smile and four kind eyes are staring at me. It makes me feel less alone.