Looking at Hanoi

by aengelson | October 15th, 2009

A few random observations from Hanoi:

A young man, leaving a cafe and getting on his motorbike, carefully takes an earring from his ear and puts it in his pocket.

A motorscooter driver carries four huge bags of flip-flops, probably a hundred in each, on his handlebars.

The electrical wires:

The maze of wires above Hanoi.

The maze of wires above Hanoi.

Swan boats:

Swan boats, Truc Bach Lake.

Swan boats, Truc Bach Lake.

An old mural celebrating the day John McCain was shot down over Hanoi, October 26, 1967:

DSC_0917

Tran Quoc Pagoda:

Tran Quoc Pagoda, another oasis in frenetic Hanoi.

Tran Quoc Pagoda, another oasis in frenetic Hanoi.

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About This Site

Andy Engelson is a writer and editor who lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. He's currently working on a historical novel set in the Northwest United States during World War II. He's also a freelance writer, essayist and member of the Hanoi Writer's Collective. In a former life, he edited Washington Trails magazine for six years and before that was freelance journalist. He likes to hike, travel, and play with his family.

Quotable

When a man is small, he loves and hates food with a ferocity which soon dims. But at six years old his very bowels will heave when such a dish as creamed carrots or cold tapioca appears before him. His throat will close, and spots of nausea and rage swim in his vision. It is hard, later, to remember why, but at the time there is no pose in his disgust. He cannot eat; he says, “To hell with it!”
In the same way, some foods are utterly delicious, and he thinks of them and tastes them with a sensuous passion which too often disappears completely with the years.
Perhaps there are little chocolate cookies as a special treat, two apiece. He eats his, all two, with an intense but delicate avidity. His small sister Judy puts one of hers in her pocket, the smug thing. But Aunt Gwen takes a bite from each of her cookies and gives what is left of one to Judy, what is left of the other to him. She is quite calm about it.
He looks at her with dreadful wonder. How can she bear to do it? He could not, could not have given more than a crumb of his cooky to anyone. Perhaps even a crumb would be too big. Aunt Gwen is wonderful; she is brave and superhuman. He feels a little dizzy as he looks at the bitten cooky in his hand. How could she do it?
By the time a man is ten or twelve, he has forgotten most of his young passions. He is hungry and wants to be full. It is very simple.
— M.F.K. Fisher, Serve It Forth

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