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Friday, March 4, 2016

Back in Philly

My train out of Leipzig couldn't go because someone had stolen a piece of cable down the rail line. Deutsche Bahn had to order a taxi to get us, a group of six, to the airport.

After landing in Philly, I took a commuter train to Center City, then a taxi to my South Philly apartment, which I got to at around 1AM.

To anchor myself immediately, I headed to the Friendly Lounge. I knew Don, daytime bartender and co-owner, would not be there, but I was hoping to run into Terrance, Stephanie or Felix, but unfortunately, it was past their bedtimes, so I headed to the Dive, where Pascal was bartending. I've mentioned Pascal at the end of this piece, "Our Refugee Future".

Pascal and I talked about Gypsies, honesty in writing and New Orleans, and I asked him to give me an account of his fascinating life, which he agreed to do, so we can all look forward to that on this blog.



Mark and Jolee said...


We're happy you've arrived home safely. (As former railroad workers, we know about cable stealing, apparently lucrative because of the copper wiring inside.) Cheers and looking forward to future posts. J and M

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Jolee and Mark,

Suddenly I'm here. What the hell. No more Dresden just down the road...


Chuck Olroski said...


Welcome home! Look forward to your talk with Pascal on New Orleans. I visited this incredible city twice while stationed at & "on pass" from Fort Polk, Louisiana. However, I did not get to go during Mardi Gras.

March 12th is Scranton's legendary St. Patrick's Day Parade, and to date there is no announcement on Hillary Clinton's intent to march and proclaim her late-father Hugh Rodham's roots in Hyde Park, West Scranton, and her undying love for the city.

St. Patrick's Day Parade is 100 X's more profitable than New Years Eve for Scranton bar owners, and while on school bus runs, I see residents are fashioning Trump buttons, car bumper stickers, and red baseball caps inscribed with "Make America Great Again"

Come on up if you get the chance, we have plenty of 12' x 12' cube room!

Linh Dinh said...

Sounds tempting, Chuck. I have to take care of a bunch of things, but let me think about it...


Chuck Olroski said...


At Saint Patrick's Day parade, Scranton people fill streets & bars, and all vote (straight), The Beer Party. If not her, I'm pretty certain Hillary Clinton will dispatch someone of her ilk to march in the parade, and generate more manic euphoria.

Your new camera will get a work out at the parade, all area bars will be jammed even more so if it rains, and the cops do not bust people for peacefully drinking beer in the street. Tempting? Yes, for on this one day, broken Scranton becomes New Orleans!

Although March 12 draws close, no hurry to decide. But I can pick you up at Greyhound station on Friday the 11th; you can relax at our home in preparation for the Long March parade, promise I won't drag you anywhere.

Ian Keenan said...

I'm paying my first ever visit to NOLA next week, just for the day. Just watched When the Levees Broke for the first time also. All through the movie people ask, 'how is it we can spend billions in Iraq, but we can do nothing here' and sadly, unspitefully I think, 'it's a democracy, and today 11 years later NOLA is voting for more of the same.' Hillary, the Iraq War supporter that's the leading recipient of defense industry contributions, is leading Bernie 61-14 in the latest Louisiana poll (tho Spike has endorsed Bernie).

Christian said...

Watch out for the culture shock! You'll miss the Bier and the Schwarzbrot and the Bretzel... maybe even I love Volkstod. :-) (By the way - some Dummkopf painted the words "Germany you piece of shit" and "Still not loving Germany" and "Refugees welcome" on the big wall of the Jesuit Seminar Centre in Sachsenhausen, just near a mosque - quite prophetic in a way....).
all the best for you Linh!
Take care

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Christian,

I miss my cheap bottles of Ur-Krostitzer. I miss my frischkäse.


Chuck Olroski said...

Ian: Because of expensive food and booze, try and avoid Bourbon Street! You'll enjoy New Orleans outskirts much more...terrific music and you even might hear some really good Delta Blues musicians play with rather unique (crude) instruments. Best wishes on your journey!


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.