Back home I was graaadually getting into good enough shape to run 5ks. I was in two of them, and I've told so many people so many times that I ran two of them, that sometimes I forget that I didn't actually run two of them. I ran most of the way, certainly at the beginning and the ends, but there was some definite stopping going on in the middle parts, so I can't honestly say I completely ran two different 5ks. Oh well. And that was when I was "training" (ie letting Kenny coax me into tying on the sneakers, pulling on the shorts, and huffing and cursing my way along the rolling hills of Warren Wilson College). There was a brief habit of running in the morning this summer, thanks to my being included in a huffing, cursing mob of like-minded foodies, but since arriving here on the tenth parallel, I've let most of my exercise be the nice calm yoga type or the speed walking on a treadmill in the A/C type. I mean, there were a few long beach hikes. But nothing in the way of getting me in any kind of shape to run a 5k, or even most of it. So when my Canadian friends started going all 'Terry Fox this' and 'Terry Fox that' I knew I should probably join up, cause the money goes towards some great cancer-treating hospitals and also I could increase my worldly know-how by being able to encourage an alliance with our maple-addled friends to the North by participating in the annual Terry Fox cult activities. So I walked a 5k with 5,000+ people in the suburbs of Saigon, moving en masse down a freshly paved highway in a sea of white and red shirts and ball caps.
Since we're spending Christmas on a mostly deserted island, I treated myself to two new bathing suits. Now, it is no secret that most western women are quite a bit larger than Vietnamese women. Larger, certainly, than sizes sold in Vietnamese stores. Luckily for us big-butted expats, there are several tailor-made suit shops in town, and the one I prefer is called Ly Ly. They'll make a western sized bikini for 180,000 (currently $11.20) in any number of colors (you choose the material and if you want any padding, lining, fancy details, whathaveyou). So to celebrate the whole "I'm tan in December!" thing, I got a white one and a coral-colored one (mom would be proud, she's been trying to get me to wear that shade for decades). They're skimpy, but you know, deserted island and all.
I'm reading The Beach by Alex Garland. It's thrilling and disgusting and I just realised that reading it gives you the same dichotomous feeling as when your mouth waters and you feel hungry and sick at the same time (this happens to other people, right?). It reminds me a little of Lord of the Flies, and Heart of Darkness, probably because of the jungle island thing. I haven't seen the movie. I don't know what's going to happen. For me, the fascination is brought home because of how plausible going there next month could be. Of course, it's not the same island anymore (which is kind of a theme in the book), but still. Thailand.