On the windy streets of Sapa an old man of those northern hills sat peddling his flutes, playing tunes on them as the crowds disappeared behind shelters against the cold night. In between songs and the occasional pull on his tobacco pipe, he and I fumbled around together trying to find a common chord where our musical conversation could meet, he on his flute and I with my mandolin. We never did find it, but no matter. Before too long this young man from Hanoi came up, took the mandolin into his hands and within minutes had figured out how to play it. This is just one of the songs he played that night, a traditional Vietnamese tune that drew together those disparate wayfarers of the night- foreigner and local, old and young, from north and south. In that moment the music brought us all together.

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