Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ear Cleaning: Nothing Much Happened Again Today In Vietnam

CLEAN YOUR FRIGGIN' EARS OUT! Today, I engaged in my weekly pleasure of having my ears cleaned. Ears cleaned you say? With Q-tips? No. I have my ears cleaned by a professional technician, probably with a Ph.D. in ear cleaning, and have come to not only enjoy it but to consider the process necessary as well as therapudic.

It takes aro
und 20 minutes, costs just over a dollar and happens in a barber shop. The technician straps a miner's style light to her forehead, drops my barber chair into the reclining position and proceeds to descend into the deep dark recesses of my ear canal – armed with a trusty toolear cleaning, tools, vietnam, wildwildeastdailies, wild wild east dailies, Saigon, Vietnam, ear cleaning, ear wax cleaning, ear cleaning scope David Everitt-Carlsonkit of little picks, shovels and probably trussed by a cable tied to the back wall. The sensation of the procedure following is just positively liberating. Sinus passages clear, hearing becomes cleaner and a general weight feels lifted from ones head. It's finished off by little spinning brushes and a cleaning foam that just makes the inside of your ears feel shiny and polished. Click on the photo and see the tools involved. Now let's talk some shit. As the procedure is underway, the technician will take the deposits she has unearthed and wipe them on your forearm. And let me tell you – no matter what sort of shit you thought you heard the previous week, the stuff you see on your arm will just absolutely scare you. As my ear canals go I seem to get much more shit delivered to my right ear than to my left. Should I have sold you on this procedure, and you're not in Vietnam, I'd direct you to your local Vietnamese neighborhood barbershop in the country of your residence.


Today we're entering a two day holiday in Vietnam called Reunification Day. It's the day the North Vietnamese Army stormed through the gates of the Presidential palace in Saigon to accept the surrender of the South.

From Wikipedia: The Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 – which ended the Vietnam War – prompted the first large-scale wave of immigration from Vietnam. Many people who had close ties with the Americans or with the then Republic of Vietnam government feared promised communist reprisals. So, 125,000 of them left Vietnam during the spring of 1975. This group was generally highly-skilled and educated.

This resonates with me in remembering 75 because I had acted as a big brother to a Vietnamese guy in my university days at the end of that year. This was an association engineered by my church and unfortunately I cannot remember the man's name. I do remember he was an attorney in South Vietnam and was determined to become one again.

We visited an Andy Warhol exhibition at the school and I taught him how to say beer and cigarettes. That's about all anyone would have needed
to have gotten along in America in 1975, right?


My walk home tonight included an encounter with the Olympic torch in Ho Chi Minh City – and if you haven't heard about it's Vietnamese Tour, that has been entirely intentional. As China has leaned on it's neighboring countries in Asia, especially the Communist ones, to keep the protests down to nothing, the situation has been tightly controlled. The torch's previous location was in North Korea and you can bet that CNN was supplied with nothing but smiling faces on that tape. Here, maps of the route were entirely secret and all the major dailies each reported
different and slightly obscure stories regarding timings and exact locations. As I hit downtown and noticed the throngs of people it dawned on me, "Hey this is the start of the Reunification Holiday", until I ran into a friend and he told me about the torch run. Fearing the pickpockets and general mayhem of downtown during any public gathering I altered my route and made it quietly home. I didn't see the torch but wasn't about to venture into a crowd that stretched for any number of kilometers for a chance to see something that might have already passed. Once home I did find that I would have missed it by being where I was at the time I was. But that's ok. I was closer than I have ever been to an Olympic torch and there must be something to be said for that.


Not that the rock world is falling out of it's chair when a 27 year old band releases a new record, but today I was able to get a torrent of the new REM album "Accelerate" today and I must say, that band is alive and well. Only two listens now but my impression is that's it's a powerful, tight, terse and almost punkly delivered disk that probably over-delivers on even the glowing reviews I have already heard. This will definitely get a few listens this holiday.

Probably good I started by having my ears cleaned out today.

For more in the "Nothing much happened" series, check below:

VIII People Are Just Dieing To Get Out of Here
VII The Hair Job
VI Happy New Year! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
V The Vietnam sNews
IV At The Center of Miss Universe
III My Walk in the Park Today
II The Stevie Wonder Post
I Ear Cleaning

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