The Just Jot it January writing prompt for today is ‘pants’, which brings a certain memory to mind…

Late in my term of teaching English in Asia, I took a madcap tour of Vietnam. I prepared no itinerary, just bought tickets to Hanoi, packed a small bag, and went.

One of the first places I visited was a clothing factory on the outskirts of the city, the employees of which were from bloodlines affected by Agent Orange. It was a strange experience – simultaneously horrible to think of the atrocity which their families had gone through and which reverberated into the present day, yet also a story of personal triumph for each of the workers who had overcome their disabilities and mastered a trade.

I bought an expensive but exquisite black cloth traditional Vietnamese buttoning overshirt with an elaborate red dragon embroidered on the back. You could practically hear the crackle and feel the fierce heat of the flames erupting from the dragon’s jaws.

Deciding to make for the coast, I took the metro bus as far as I could. It dropped me in the middle of nowhere, but there was a guy there with a scooter who agreed to take me to the next town for a small fee. I wound up hiring him all the way to Halong Bay.

That night, I drank with the people who ran the ferries out to the islands in the bay. I got good and giddy and since they didn’t speak English, I danced what I wanted to say like Zorba the Greek – limbs all akimbo, hips asway… needless to say, I was a sight to behold.

When I arrived on Catba Island the following evening on a ferry skippered by one of my drinking buddies, I was met by a small throng of merchants dead set on selling me excursion packages, lodging, massage and more. I pressed through and past them and marched along the shore, finding that sidewalk soon gave way to footpath, which then became a really very dangerous catwalk clinging to the side of a seacliff. Half an hour later, I arrived at a dilapidated resort.

No one was in sight, so I rummaged in my bag, pulled out a pair of hot pink fisherman’s pants I had acquired a few trips before in Thailand, and changed and made myself comfy on a deck chair. Didn’t move from that spot the whole night. After the drinking and dancing of the night before and the day on the water, I felt lazy as a lotus-eater.

The next morning, I pulled my baggy jeans back on over the top of the thin fisherman’s pants and hiked back into town. A pack of kids was sitting in the street when I made it back to civilization, and they fired a fusillade of wolf whistles and ooh-la-la’s at me as I approached. I was mystified until I glanced down and noticed that I had hot pink cloth blooming out of the bottom of the legs of my jeans. The kids thought it was my underwear!

Thanks to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie for the word prompts.

Greetings and thanks to Jacqui, aka One Messy Mama, who is hosting Global Blogging.