A day of wandering

I had a really nice day today. Took off a little late after some coffee with my friend David. Decided to head for the historic Long Bien Bridge which I have always loved walking toward.

The Historic Long Bien BridgeThe Historic Long Bien Bridge

The Historic Long Bien Bridge

The entry point was very crowded today because people are leaving to go home for Tet. The bridge arcs across the sky and has withstood many historic things like bombings during the Vietnam conflict. It still cuts the sky and is a reminder of just how powerful this one thing is.

The bridge approachThe bridge approach

The bridge approach

Now the bridge only allows the train, motorbikes, and pedestrian traffic. I walked around but the main thing next to the bridge area is this super large public market called Dong Xuan Market. It was simply too crowded to take photos but the market has to be the largest I have been to perhaps outside of Taiwan. It goes blocks and blocks, inside and out. The primary building is here.

Dong Xuan MarketDong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market

I then walked back to an area I have always loved to end the walk and have dinner. Truc Bach District has always held a special place and now the island is all decorated for the Tet holidays.

Truc Bach Island and walkwayTruc Bach Island and walkway

Truc Bach Island and walkway

Beautiful pieces of Truc Bach Life during the holidaysBeautiful pieces of Truc Bach Life during the holidays

Beautiful pieces of Truc Bach Life during the holidays

At this point I was done walking and had dinner and then stopped at a Circle K for some cold beverages (beer) and some snacks. The day is over for me. I had a walk I used to do and it is all different yet the same. I fall in love and lust more with Hanoi with every day that passes. The city just speaks on some level of life, urgency, passion, solitude. It covers the bases but then my wonderful mystery companion in Cambodia tells me some things. We decide to do something but it takes some discussion. It makes me very happy to reach an accord and we are both happy with the outcome.

Then there’s tomorrow

Tomorrow is a Friday here. I will head over to my friend Paul and Duyen’s house for lunch which will probably go on and on since she cooks the world for us. She is an international chef and if there is one thing that she loves, it is cooking. The second thing has to be having people that appreciate the work and play and artistry she puts into the food. I hope we have Vietnamese delicacies, some chicken, rice, salad. The boys will hold my hand and smile and call me Uncle Mike. I get misty eyed sometimes and I just hold their hand tighter. It is this small hand but it has power in a tomorrow coming. They both love to laugh and gently tease me. Duyen smiles. Paul laughs. It is tomorrow for me.

A Friday to just hold on to because a little over a week later I go home. Then another friend Chinh messaged me. She has been sick. Not with Covid thank goodness but she will not let me leave without seeing me. She is another one of those people that let me into their family. So I hear uncle” from many quarters and I love it.

And I’m sure there are memories and moments to last me until I decide when I return. Return I must. Vietnam is a drug and I’m on fire here.

I love all the little scenes of life, the imperfection of Vietnam which I see each day because Vietnam like most of Southeast Asia is not done being built. I grew tired of places already done. No mystery and love of life when it is all decided. I’m so glad so many years ago I decided this imperfect asia was the place to hold my hand and my heart.

Bye all. I hope you find your asia. We all need one.

January 12, 2023