Expectation Management & seeking self help books
Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
86Trip End Jul 27, 2011
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First impression on the bus ride from the airport: Vegas-style neon Karaoke jungle, a stampede of motorbikes, a honking concert and generally exactly what you'd expect from a SEA metropolis. The crazy traffic here beats that of Beirut, Khatmandu and even Dhaka, with the local flavour being streets clogged with motorcycles. They are whizzing about like bees in a hive, honking their way around each other, other vehicles and pedestrians. They come from all directions, in hundreds and they park on the side walks, so it is impossible to walk on them
My first noteworthy experience is me missing the tiny, kid-sized, plastic stool, when sitting down at a street stall for dinner. It hurt, tough more from the laughing than the actual fall. At another dinner spot, Rock Billy Bar/Cafe/Restaurant, they loop an old album of Modern Talking. Those of you who (are German enough to) know them will cringe now. I love this sh^&%&^t! Manu (who I finally caught up with here) is close to going bananas, while I am having a hayday :) Have a taste of it yourself, but be warned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kHl4FoK1Ys
Hanoi for me has a very special charm that is difficult to describe or pinpoint. Like every big city, it is loud and busy and hectic and also rather dirty. I find its decrepit old colonial houses beautiful in their own way, like a wrinkley old lady that exudes wisdom under all the skin folds and still allows you to imagine the pretty, vibrant youth she once was. I could see myself living here for a while
Of course, since we are here, we must visit Halong Bay. That's what people do when they come to Hanoi. It turns out to be jam-packed with tourists, utterly anticlimactic. As nice a scenery as it is, I find it devoit of any mystery or magic. In fact, as I am making these notes about Halong Bay, I can't think of anything else to write. The words 'nice' and 'tourist trap' summarize it perfectly. It's one of those things you can't come here without visiting. But in retrospect I don't feel I would have missed all that much. If you can stand it, I recommend you skip it!
It's too short a visit, we move on two days later since Manu already spent a chunk of time here waiting for me to catch up. What is shaping up to be a fast-paced and hectic Vietnam-tour due to Manu's interview schedule, should stress me and make me want to return soon. Instead, the thought of returning gnaws at me. I find it impossible to imagine stepping back into my old life after all this. Anyone got any self-help books or tips for returning long-term travelers?
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