So here it goes. After a day of consulting well-known travel blogs, I decided to set off on my own. I hope this journey of words and photos will be as exciting as that conducted on foot and with actually eyes.
This is me, Van Do from Hanoi. You may not even once hear of Hanoi but at least Vietnam must have you done.
Hanoi is this little city, the capital city of Vietnam, to be exact, which changes her outfits as fast as the street light chasing the moon in a full-moon day of August. In the blink of an eye, Hanoi is fashionably dressed with enough sun for a day out and enough rain for a date. Probably the weather doesn't matter that much to Hanoi, for she shares variations of roles to play in any provided scenes. When the day drags to its end, you can find yourself stably seated in an acoustic café, with the initial purpose just to avoid the sudden downpour, but out of the blue, far from what you've expected, so well the performers whet your appetite that with shoulders up and down melodiously to the tunes, you drift off to an unknown land, out of the Time and Venue, into a semi-darkness that surrounds you. But don't let yourself be lured too soon into sleep. Hanoi at night offers more than a lullaby. Take a long breath and step out of the reserved room, walk along the street and find yourself a more rustic tune. Along the pavements where people seem to never want to leave are an exhibition of advertisements with 'misused' typography, most of which is grammatically or wordily wrong, and a buffet of humors that one could have a real good laugh just by reading the advertising out loud. Have you ever tried 'dried ink' (mistaken for 'squid') or just taken a sip of 'New Rice' wine? Or could you imagine anything taste more 'weirdly' than pigs' nibbles or chickens' legs? I warn you not to be taken in by the extra-ordinariness of names or the strangeness of procedures to make such food, because it's once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a bite of these foods. The smoke clouding the made-in-China stove, the glossy multi-flavored liquids glued on the raw materials, the chili sauce whose brand names are nowhere to be seen, everything that distances from what's served in the café you just step out
. Off to a romanticized real place. Who can maintain a long smooch kiss on a lake shore where cockroaches are crawling underfoot? Who can spare themselves a private space in such layers of people where shells of sun-flower seeds would weigh more than minutes of the conversation shared? Who can giggle with pride that her yoghurt stores appear on a column of teenagers' gossip magazine? If not Hanoians. Dream is how they get to beyond reality, comprising of both the tangible and the deep-seated. Dream is how they are driven forward, parallel with the other developing country's speed. Dream is how they cling on to the very society that's the positive has just been cultivated. It's the reality in which when they open up their eyes, bombarded every sense is the next-door fray over increasing cost of living, infrastructure built and demolished more than the number of times one swallows worm-preventing pills per year, and overloaded education that target at specialized-minded persons, without concerns about whether their monotone of degrees and skills would make a living, or even survive. Hanoi welcomes new members from rural areas, opens up to foreign investors and abandons those who lack dream and hope. That is to tell, Hanoi dreams and hopes and strives for the place far above where present tense takes place. And I, I dream, I hope and I strive as well as Hanoi has deepened in me the instinct to do so.