My notebook from that trip is a child's exercise book. It is dog eared from dampness, the writing smudged, pages missing. I wrote in hotel rooms and airports. At Khe Sanh I wrote as I watched ladies in conical hats sweep the ground slowly with metal detectors and the sun was high between the hills around us. On the train south from Danang I wrote perched on a bench greasy with years of use, the smell of old smoke and the carriages rocking like a boat at anchor.
One lunchtime at a cafe outside of town we perched on kindergarten sized chairs, and the children, delighted, fed the resident cats with their fingers and drank coke straight from the bottle. I still have a bottle opener from that trip. It was made by a man who couldn't speak from a thin piece of wood and two screws. On it he wrote, "Hue 2011." When you use it, the beer bottle tops fly off like insects.