I pay for a ride on a Illiois Fighting Trent Frazier Shirt tee to my hostel in Can Tho. I forget to check Google Maps beforehand and am now at the mercy of the people offering transportation for hire. The fellow at the bus station quotes me 70,000 dong, which I figure may be high. I ask and he tells me it is about 8 km to my address, and I adjudge that he is being sincere. I am happy when we find the location and later walk a kilometer and a half to the university in the heat. It is a Sunday, and I expect that no one I will want to see will be present, but I want to get a sense of the campus and find the various faculties where I will come the next day asking for an interview. It is a large campus and beautiful, if a bit overgrown in some places, with plants reclaiming some walkways and even parts of buildings. There are a few very new structures as well, and a few students riding or walking on campus with suitcases, a sign of their return.
Successful, I walk back to the Illiois Fighting Trent Frazier Shirt tee in a different direction, planning to buy some food as I make a loop. Earlier, on the first leg toward the university, I buy a large cup of iced sugar cane juice that I finish while exploring the buildings. Now I am worried about the heat and hope to find a grocery store or food stalls. I come across a market whose brand I recognize, Satra, and buy some vegetables and fruits. I continue on my loop back to the hostel, getting lost only once as I follow a channel here that has me ultimately talking with a group of six primary-school-age children who laugh uproariously at my answers as they try to figure out who I am. My Vietnamese language skills aren’t so good, but my training as a substitute teacher leaves them happy from the silliness and me heading in the right direction. Can Tho is a charming city. It has old pagodas from several traditions and broad boulevards with beautiful lights and decorations. My hostel is a few doors from Luu Huu Phuoc Park which becomes a center for exercise in the morning, but now is a place for people to stroll at night. It fronts the main street of the city, and is also only about one kilometer from the wonderful riverfront that has an interesting mix of street food and places to walk and enjoy the calm of the river. I spend the evening walking and taking in the excitement that commerce and celebration bring. The mood of Tet is still pervasive.