What I have in my hand is Vietnam.
This Vietnam is visually spectacular, still a landscape of layers and colours but perhaps slightly easier to deconstruct, examine and truly know. Those who have not visited may recognise its features. This Vietnam, too, has green as its primary colour, emanating from the tangled jungle of herbs and vegetables at Hanoi's market tables. Mustard leaves and mint are the rice fields and banana trees of this Vietnam.
This Vietnam has also been constructed with material crafted from nature by human hands; slats of carrot, pineapple, cucumber and young banana sawn in kitchens by knives. Laying in a pile like bamboo, bricks and timber, there is anticipation of large scale development in the air, hasty and perhaps without a clear view to the implications. This Vietnam is using energy sparingly, too, a thin conduit of chili transferring just enough heat to keep the metabolism chugging along.
This Vietnam is populated with flesh; beef giving iron and muscle, a force working to bind all of the other elements together in palatable coexistence, something with legs. Essential in my opinion.
And the success of this Vietnam is at the mercy of the hand that rolls the rice-paper and the degree to which that paper is transparent. Clumsy mismanagement of this Vietnam at such a stage may result in a rather ugly mess, all of the ingredients sinking in a murky quagmire of soy sauce and wasabi.