So… I’m currently in a Hanoi hotel, gaping in disbelief at the TV, which I’ve turned on for the first time in three days in the hopes of finding FTV. Instead, I’ve chanced upon a National Geographic documentary called “Wild S-x” that made me gasp. Really, my inner prude is thoroughly shocked! They’ve covered, and very explicitly descibed (along with suggestive background music) the notable practices of about three dozen species, including Bonobo monkeys, snails and sea hares. The wry narrator has used lines like “writhing”, “giving new meaning to the phrase ‘swinging in the trees’” and “shocking climax”. Ugh.
Yes, so I’m in Vietnam and excitingly it’s my first visit here. The catch is that I’m working on a case, so I’ve been running about non-stop doing interviews and checking-out price lists. I’m not complaining though, although everything seems like a health hazard: the second-hand smoke, the hectic motorcycle traffic, the industry I’m investigating…
I want to go see the water-puppet show! Apparently it’s a must-see, surprising and intriuging. Maybe tomorrow, after we done the last of our planned interviews and site-visits.
Whew, I need to get some sleep.
I finished Freud’s Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious as well as Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic and Baby this past week, and I’m fairly proud of myself of actually getting some reading in. Now all I need to do is squeeze in a few more cultural activities and I’ll be a semblance of my old self Although honestly who knows what I was thinking when I imagined that I might get to attend the opera or ballet at the Opera (directly opposite the hotel, I can see it from my window)?? Already I’m grateful that we even got to drive past Ho Chi Minh’s masoleum earlier while hurrying from one late-evening interview to another.
The pre-war architecture is beautiful, and I’m finding the city quite romantic and very picturesque, perhaps aided by the unsually chilly weather (I should have brought fluffier winter-wear!), and my admittedly selective vision and strong imagination. I keep viewing everything through the hazy lens of a cinematographer dreaming about Indochine. All of which I can easily see as perverse and astheticism of the worst sort (“ah, what charmingly decrepit alleys and crumbling French Colonial villas!”).
I’m thinking I must pick up a few glazed dishes and maybe a silk lantern or two while I’m here.
The food here’s been pretty good. I’ve only had the pho at the Hilton Opera Hanoi and I like it. For restaurants I recommend Wild Lotus, Opera Club, Vine and Wild Rice (whose decor I’m in love with). For bars and clubs I like Ibox (sp?), and Chic Mambo (more a cafe), as well as Funky Monkey. For hotels definitely stay at the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi (the historic Opera wing is fantastic).
I wanted to talk about nostalgia, and how nice its been to chat with people from college (K, S, R, and E), as well as visits by Kevin and Eric etc. etc. Maybe next time.
I have one fluffy now. I call it “Puff Puff”… perhaps I’ll say its name is “Puffin”, as inspired by Louis. Puff-puff!! I miss my fluffy pet.