Piercing Hanoi

     Hanoi today, 19 May 2010. We were picked up by #vn guy and his mate who then took us for a  pho dinner. Pho has always been my favorite dishes even before I went to the original country. So, having the big white fat rice noodle by sitting in kindergarten-like chairs on the sidewalk, at fairly cheap price but taste at the very best, it was simply heaven.  #Vn guy offered a cup of cold tea in a plastic cup, which turned out to be black color drink tasted extremely bitter. I said thank you, but thank you. I didn’t bother to remember the name because I’m sure I’m not gonna order it again. He said the drink was good to give me a good sleep and we all laughed when I said it is not for a sleepyhead person like me.
      After that he took us along 1 meter narrow alley, up to the fourth floor of a decent coffee shop then enjoy the scenery from above. Something that is not written in any of the guide books. The view was amazing, Hoan Kiem lake from above along with its colorful ball-shaped lamps, the giant clock on the post office building which Vietnamese refer as their Big Ben, the old colonial buildings around us, and the illumination light from motorcycles traffic below. All of them, plus the silhouette of the young couple who made out obviously in front of us. Right. But we let it be something funny and as usual laughed it out loud.
     The coffee kicks strong, and so was he. Not literally, but strong enough to fly me back thousand miles and exactly one year a go, to the days we noticed each other for the first time.  Days when we were riding our bikes side by side and fooled around, crowding in our activities with sports, pictures hunting or just simply standing on my balcony. He smoked cigarette religiously while I was doing most of the talking.
     Just like general of the Vietnamese, no offense, his English is not perfect. That’s why most of the time I was the talk-active being and he speaks with his eyes. I tried to read his body language, but I guess Vietnamese wasn’t built with extra expressions. With these limitations, I dared my self to read signs from his eyes.   
     From my eyes, #vn guy is a symbol of Asian simplicity, utterly humble yet profoundly stands on his beliefs and very well matured by his role as a father. He looks quiet and seems to think a lot. Even he has this funny tone of saying “No,” as if he thinks ten times before saying the objection. Very rare he explicitly tells a tale of his life though once it was revealed, I guess it is something to be proud of. After one year of separation, I took a look at him. Nothing changed. He is still the same decent and modest man who stole a piece of my heart. This time, I generously gave another piece.
     He showed us around his over populated town. It stroke me that I wasn’t alone with him here, obviously there are more than 6.5 people in Hanoi and I silently assumed that the amount of motorcycles is at least half of it. The houses were built on small patched of land with many storey due to the awfully high rate of the land price, the third most expensive rate after New York and Tokyo. Then I silently assumed that he must have been working hard for a piece of land in outskirt of the town.
     I confessed that I love the city. There’s something about the lively city. Hanoi is far from systematic and well-organized city, but it has its own charms. The freely flagging yellow communist logo on red background, bubbling streets, cozy lake and high pitch noises from motorcycle horns are parts of its signature. As an addition, the gastronomic experience is south-east asia culinairy at its best and the coffee is black, thick, bitter and kicks strong. Three sips of it are enough to made me high and all smiley. And this October, Hanoi will celebrate its 1000 anniversary and we enjoyed the festive atmosphere. Hanoi looks that old, but contented with its high spirits vibrant.
As the night was slowly vanishing at very late, I confessed that I love the city and was happy.

But I didn’t confess that it was possibly him who made the difference.
I silently assume that he read it from the light of my eyes.  

That Rockaway feeling

I can feel it’s ending. That Sundays, when everyone rushed to the beach just because we had unseasonably warm weather in late September, ...