At the Tam Coc pier I was tempted by (but decided against) a boat ride because the tourists made me a tad agoraphobic. Went in the opposite direction, out of town, and walked into the rice fields. Large ponds replete with lotuses and lilies (some withered with a moribund beauty -- I thought of La Belle Dame Sans Merci: 'the sage has withered from the lake/ and no birds sing'), and others still in bloom).

Found a stone ledge in a recess under a karst hill by a turn of the river where I could sit and i can see the occasional rowboat go by with their visitors (who gape up at me, a stranger to these lands like themselves, but perched aloof from a vantage as they pass on the river.) I am reminded of the times I ate ice cream with my legs dangling over the side ledge of the steps of Widener library, mostly unnoticed by the students passing below. Thus in two different climes and terrains, the one memory is an echo of the other still.