Just shared a shower with a gecko. Couldn't be a bath because I had to keep the water level low as little gecko likes sticking in the lower corner, thrusting against the waves of a shower. Washed my hair, for the first time since Nam.

The Nam girls, their absurdly long hair falling always forward when they wash it. A great 3 foot knot weighing their heads down as wet they shake the water out of it. It can't be real and is at the same time.

Hill tribers like May Pham, always kidding "My dad wants 7 buffaloes from the one who marries me.". What's truth and a lie. Perhaps she was 18 and unmarried, though at times she said she was much older and had 2 babies. ("But when Vieennamese (that's how she pronounces it, with a train of e's) woman say she has 2 babies she means she has 2 eyes. So no babies.)"

May Pham, knotted white cotton shirt and tight jeans, walks us past the entrance to the official hill tribe village that admonishes "No Drinking in public" "No gambling in public" and "No sexy clothing".

When she goes home to her village, up a much steeper pass than the tourist grade ones we walked with her, she says she wears traditional garb to keep her mum happy.

Maybe. She also says she wants two dollars when someone asks for a photo of her, and laughs to herself waving them off when they look abashed for an instant then go into western haggle mode. Maybe May Pham stays sane by reminding herself that she's smarter than the tourists, that anyone who offers to pay $2 for a photo is not as as smart as her.

So Su rang me this morning at 420 am, then again around 9am and again at 11am. It's three hours later in Hanoi. The glories of global roaming. Your Hanoi dealer is haranguing you in Brisbane, thinking you're still in the hotel round the corner from the markets he used to meet you out the front of.

I remember zipping along behind him on his scooter, haggling over a crap packet he'd just sold me. Him realising I'm not a tourist out for a taste of Nam, but someone seriously needing qualitah opiates. He takes back the introductory packet and drops me out the front of a bazaar. Twenty minutes later he's back with nice rock. And 2 sharps, though over here with bastardized french we're calling them baguettes...I think this is a kind of bread, but maybe a french bread? Shaped, kind of, like, a , sharp? Marvels of junkie metaphors. So a day later I'm jonesing ringing him asking for a century and "2 baguettes". And of course, my Western racism, I have no idea of picking him out from the sea of other poor Viets hustling around here. They all look like dealers!

But he knows me of course. I'm the money. He zeroes in on me and does a block, fumbling cliched hand-swap dealing. A useless and obvious exercise if there ever was one. What is it meant to resemble? Two arthritic men shaking hands?

So I'm back in Oz, but he is unaware of this, and ringing me, as I hinted I was keen for some weights.

I think "This is the perfect opportunity to bargain him down to a great price because I'm really not buying. I can resist his offers and wait for the best possible price". He wanted $600, then $300 for 2 grams. In Thailand they're about $20 each, but this was nice rock, nice because it was pre-compacted, no fluffy space-filling stuff.

So maybe I'll answer the phone this weekend and tell him to ring me back when he can do 100 for $2000...See what happens.

But what if he says yes. What will that do to me, what path will that set me on, will I be able to resist such a done deal. Such a gamble, life for a little fun. When the soldier put the revolver to his head and pulled on an empty chamber, he risked his life for no gain. I intellectually know that that is the purest gamble, the ultimate dice, life or death, life the reward, death the punishment. Unsullied by cash, though the winner usually takes a cash component home in trad.r roulette I understand.

Is there an unsullied gamble out there? The only reward existence, the only loss life?