“Hanoi… shit; I’m still only in Hanoi… Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse.”
[grabs at flying insect]
“I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said “yes” to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter.”
Yes, we’re in Nam, man. In the shit. Hanoi. Capitol of Vietnam. It’s one of my favourite cities that I’ve ever visited. Right up there with New York and Istanbul). We were here 12 years ago (not Swanson – he was still a nightmare creeping behind my eyelids back then). It was here that I proposed to Tami (she said yes). Those were fine days. Halcyon days. Now the three of us just bicker and argue. Too much time together I guess. A little more than three months left on this tour.
I was worried that I wouldn’t like Hanoi this time around. I’m not too sure why as it’s as intoxicating and wonderfully chaotic as I remember it. It’s a little more touristy in spots – near the Bia Hoi (fresh beer) corners and there’s more cars than before and they sure enjoy laying on their horns. The prices have risen but that’s to be expected – our $11 hotel from 12 years ago now goes for about $20 and the Bia Hoi, which was 10 cents a glass now will set you back about 70 cents! Damn.
It’s such a crazy city. You can walk down the street (with great care that is) and see women preparing and selling all kinds of food – eggs, noodles, tiny birds, mystery meats – and people sitting on tiny plastic stools enjoying said food, guys getting haircuts on the sidewalk, old men playing cards, woman peddling various fruits on their bikes, some carrying entire kitchen setups in two baskets on either end of a wooden stick, dudes selling lighters, wallets, hats and all sorts of things all while a steady stream of motorcycles buzz past. It’s an amazing place just to walk around and take in the sights. I’ll leave you now with some photos of said sights. I’ll be posting many other photos in the coming days as there’s so much to share…