Hué is supposed to be a beautiful place – or rather what’s left of it after the US bombing in spring 68.
I cannot tell you much so far because since my arrival it only rained and rained – and now it’s dark and rains. I don’t know how I shall go out for dinner in this weather. But I need to do something to distract me from the desire to buy some cigarettes.
Now I am still in the “cold turkey” stage, where the physical addiction to nicotine tries to keep you focused on cigarettes. Today, I was ready several times to give in and just buy a bloody pack of fags. For only one puff or two. But then, when I was already standing at a shop checking their selection of cigarettes, that hard-boiled, die-hard Frank, that has made it to the top in life several times and that has survived each and everything and everyone, that part of me that I was not even sure existed still kicked in and made my walk away!
It is damned hard, though. My whole life is programmed around cigarettes. I sit down – I light a fag, I pour a drink (any kind), I light a fag, I pick up the phone – I light…, I sit in front of the computer, I light…and so on and so forth. So many small every day life routines are programmed to be connected with cigarettes. I certainly behave like the Pavlov dogs in that old experiment.
So, every time I do something that is usually connected to lighting a cigarette (and there were many occasions within the last two days) I am feeling that physical urge. Shit! I guess the physical urge will go away after maybe two weeks – but the “programming” will stay in my head.
Basically, I know how it all works. After all, I gave up smoking once before. On May 24th, 2004 at 14.37pm I smoked my last Camel non-filter, “my” only cigarettes for more than 30 years, two packs a day. And only those produced in Germany. I even smuggled the expensive German ones into Bulgaria (where Camel were less than 1/3 of the German price) – but they would make me cough! In the end my monthly cigarette consumption amounted to the monthly salary of my darling lady.
The reason for giving up was, of course, not the money. But health and fitness, or so I thought. Because breathing had become a challenge. Especially up in the Pirin mountains and with young people.
So I did not smoke for about 5 years or so. To my surprise, after waiting one year, my breathing did not improve, however. That was also the time when I (admittedly, half-heartedly) made a few attempts at fitness studios. Come on! What’s that? Still huffing and puffing like crazy? So, I went to Germany on a medical fact finding mission.
As it turned out there were certain damages (even progressive ones…) to the good old luxury body, that neither time nor medicine could heel…
So, when I started smoking again in 2009 I did this in the full awareness that it would accelerate the down trend. Well, not really, in the beginning I lied to myself that the smoking would be only “temporary” and so I even bought cigarettes I did not like not to feel comfortable with them. But that “camouflage” became obvious to me rather quickly. But I continued to smoke – till two days ago.
Should I stop again. For the second time now? There is no way back to improve my health from current rotten levels. Smoking or not. So, what for? To live a year longer, or maybe even two? I don’t see much benefit in that.
What gives me an incentive, however, is my desire to be independent and my quest for quality of life. I know that smoking, in my bodily situation, does not give me any pleasure whatsoever. It’s all about the nicotine. There is not even one cigarette a day I enjoy from beginning to end. So, should I be an addict to this? I should not! Much better to smoke opium, when you are here in Vietnam. At least this will give you some pleasure. The fags don’t. And I can’t imagine that you can get more addicted to opium than to cigarettes…
Goodness, I started out on Hué – and now I am bitching about around my own miserable life. Sorry guys! Maybe I should cut this out from this Hue post and put it somewhere else (likely, better delete it).
And, it’s still raining and nearly 7pm now. Soon it will be too late for dinner. At least for the food-shops. They have their rush between 6 and 7 pm – and then they close…the up-market restaurants (at least those catering to foreigners as well) are open to as late as 9pm!!! But I don’t want to wander about in the rain! OK, I will give it another 15 minutes.
If rain won’t stop soon I will stay in my room with an estimated 120 million of small ants, 2/3 of a bottle of Bacardi (one third went since I started this monologue), some coke and a bag of dried fruits (banana slices, papaya pieces and whatever), that I bought at the producers “zech” (as we would call it in Bulgaria in German language…:))
So, that’s it from me for tonight. I hope. I also hope that tomorrow the weather will be better as I have hired a local guide for a city tour for all day. He will pick me up at 7 am. Well, in principle, it’s a logistical luxury I afford. Because sights are spread out in all directions. And I should hire different taxis to get from here to there. Which would be more expensive than to hire a guide with transport for the whole day
As I have my done my home work I am very much aware of the features of the emperors’ city and the forbidden palace (both of whom, by the way, are a miniature copy of the same thing in Peking, Beijing, or whatever you feel inclined to call it), as well as of the magnificent, unique tombs they have built for the emperors outside Hué. All I need now is: actually seeing them – without rain
See you tomorrow…