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crustyadventures Random travel thoughts from WorldNomad's Community Manager

Hanoi Calling

VIETNAM | Sunday, 7 December 2003 | Views [1053]

It's Sunday morning and Hanoi is still buzzing. There doesn't seem to be any time for rest... the world is there and the residents are still trying to scratch a dollar off it. It rained early and I thought it might get cold -after all it is winter - but somebody told me that these days there's just no telling what the weather's up to. A constant 27 degrees however, doesn't feel like any winter I know of. You can only pity the poor ladies running stalls full of beanies, gloves and scarves. But reinvention and persistence will prevail and the Vietnamese are thriving.

I went out for Pho this morning on the sidewalk with The Captain, a high-tar smokin, heavily bearded plumber from the Sunshine Coast, 65 years young and escaping to Hanoi for a bit of a rest after too many 16 hour days finishing the waterworks for a new shopping mall to suit our grand and expensive western tastes. He's a good laugh, a little wiley and been here just a bit longer than I have. It's also good to be out and about with someone else - I'm appreciating the ability to hide a bit and not be the centre of attention. It's a little overwhelming at times to be the Number 1 Beatiful - obviously with loads of cash. But hey, what can I say? In dong, I am a multi-millionaire! Maybe for the only time in my life.

I am in food heaven here and have discovered that BBQ'd goat is only a little chewy, but otherwise delicious. When I work my way up to dog, I'll be sure to let you know... I only hope I can remember how the street cooking all fits together with the most amazing food and soups, full of coriander, shallots, lime juice and vegetables I can't even begin to recognise.

I find it almost impossible to describe any of the scenes of Hanoi as more passes my eyes in two minutes than i could write about in a chapter of a book. It's taken me 5 days to even begin to write down this email... and I'd rather be out looking at more of it than spending time at a computer - after all, I'm not at work :-) When I leave this internet cafe, I'll walk boldly into some oncoming traffic and let the motrobikes navigate around me and head off for a teeth-staining Vietnamese coffee. When I get over the heart palpitations, I'm off for a spot of lunch with the Captain to visit his nephew - an Australian teacher here.

I seem to keep having lucky accidents - maybe travelling on my own, although a little harder/annoying/tiring at times - has some advantages. The vietnamese want to talk to me and I find myself chatting with English students in the park, having tea with the dwarf on the corner whose not allowed to go to English class (reason? he's too short ?!) and joking with the goregous girls who run the Hotel. Last night I went to an atrocious German beer hall thingo to see a band and found an old friend on stage playing keyboards (Sam - remember Carolyn Shine?)... the world is so small... and all the cogs seem to be turning in the right direction.

Anyway, enough from me for now... I'm off to Sapa in the mountains on the night-train for a 5 day trek and won't be back until next Saturday. I'd love to hear your news if you can drop me a line, although Hotmail's a little slow so save your pix and jokes til later :-)

Tags: culture, luck

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