Still on Phu Quoc

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Fried rice with egg for breakfast, and ca fe sua da – coffee with condensed ilk and ice. It’s warm today ad I have a heat rash on the backs of my thighs. I also think I’ve been bitten in the night – there’s spots of what could be blood on the sheets. I’ll try the sleeping bag liner tonight be it gets so hot at night… in that respect I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed soon. Everything itches like crazy and flies follow you everywhere.

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Tomorrow’s our last day here – then we go to Saigon.

There are four dogs who live here – hunting dogs of some kind, with splotchy red and bluish-black tongues. One has a large wound on its back leg, which Sau says is a knife wound (apparently the neighbours commonly lash out at the dogs, saying they are after their chickens), and another has a perfectly round hole in the vicinity of its bottom – from a slug gun maybe? In any case, they pant and sleep on the wooden floors of the open air restaurant during the day, and collectively howl at and change things in the night (including passing boats I think). They’re covered in scars and fleas, but have the cutest faces and eyes, and come sit by you with mournful looks when you’re eating your dinner.

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Work on the pier seems to have stopped – though perhaps they quit for the weekend. That said, most people here work round the clock, every day. I don’t think there is such thing as a holiday, except perhaps for Tet (Viet. new year). How do they do it? The same, I suppose, as it was back in the days before ‘workers’ rights’ – like something out of Dickens. A father dies, children have to quit school and go to work. Most people’s businesses and shops are out the front of their houses, so they work, sleep and live all in the same place. And I, on the other hand, go on about not having enough free time to write and spin, and mess around, and who considers part-time work so as to have even more spare time!! They work twelve- to fifteen-hour days. I work eight, and get an hour for lunch in the middle. It must seem so unfair to them. They work so much harder for so much less. Hauling in the nets for fish. Making clothing for little more than the cost of the materials.

It’s getting to the point now, being here, when I don’t look out across and through the coconut trees, and out to sea, but just look out to all my different thoughts now.

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