I went to Zadie Smith's reading from her new novel, NW, on a brisk night in the East Village a few weeks ago. Later, as she signed my book (To Lily, From Zadie) she leaned forward and whispered, "do I have lipstick on my teeth?" It was fire-engine red, and no, she did not.
And that was the time Zadie Smith asked me if she had lipstick on her teeth. I loves her. And I loves her recent piece for the New York Review of Books, Joy. Read it here. It is perfect.
In completely unrelated news, I'm going to Vietnam (!) next week and I am desperate for recommendations P. leaves tomorrow for a grad school project there, and I'll join him ten days later for an 11-day tour-de-force in which I will eat my way from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. I bought my tickets months ago and can barely contain my excitement.
Budgetary note and disclaimer: we are proof that you can travel internationally on a tight budget, but lest it seem glamorous let it also be known the reality of this kind of travel: we -and our travel buddies- have inherited the gifts that come with such peregrinations: lice (me, Mongolia, 2004), shigellosis dysentery (almost killed me, Mongolia Round II, 2006), food poisoning (P., Iraq, 2008), bed bugs (me, India 2010), dengue fever (all our American friends and maybe us?, India, 2010), chikungunya (housemates in Jaipur, India, 2011), undiagnosed vomiting/diarrhea/fever/joint inflammation (me & P., India, 2010-2011). Whee! I wonder what treasures Vietnam holds for us?!
So, you well-traveled bunch, any recommendations? We have a pretty loose itinerary; my main objective is to reenact the scene from Indochine when the French Naval officer and Vietnamese freedom fighter steal away on a Chinese junk and travel up Ha Long Bay, (minus the bloody political struggle and that interlude with the Communist theater troupe).
So. Vietnam. Spill it. I would be so grateful.