Saturday, July 30, 2005

Beautiful Hanoi

After the usual procrastinating for the day before flying out, and then farewells at the airport - how many times do we need to do that!!?? - I flew to Hanoi on Tuesday.

I was met at the airport by the heat, and by Narelle! She is working in the city for a year on the AYAD Program (yes, the same one I was in Cambodia with), and has been here for almost 4 months now. Was so good, and so exciting to see her!

Arriving at Narelle's AYA mansion (it's a hard life, isn't it!!??), which was gorgeous, we got caught up on gossip, what we've been up to, etc. It seems the problems I had with AYAD have not really gone away - shame, really.

Narelle had taken a couple of days off to hang out with me, which actually coincided with a bump to the head and some stitches, so she was well due for some R and R! We brunched at one of her favourite hangouts, which was very yum, and then wandered around the Old Quarter for the rest of the afternoon.

Being in Vietnam, and finding myself on the back of a moto once more, wizzing through streets and weaving through traffic, brought all that I love about SEA back to me. The edge of getting around like that, with the very real reality of risk, not knowing where you are, knowing that you don't know the language nor the city - always such a rush. Just being back in Asia for a bit just brought home for me the silliness of all the worries we get ourselves into in the "developed world".

The next day saw more hanging out, yummy Vietnamese lunch, and coffee. I then went off to see the beautiful Temple of Literature, which I hadn't seen on my previous visit to the city. Inside the walls of the temple is a little pocket of tranquility, amid the madness, noise and bustle of Hanoi. Was so magical to be in there while the city carried on around it. (More photos.)

As a treat, Narelle and I then headed off to a little place called Bellisimo, around the corner from her house. Here we subitted to a 'Body Polish with Aromatic Salt' - which was absolutely divine!! I don't think I have managed to be that relaxed in my life! Two hours hours of massage with all this different stuff. Was gorgeous! My skin felt amazing!

The stress of rushing out to the airport, and the organised chaos that is any airport in Vietnam, may have erased some of all that relaxation! My flight was a late one, and now, after travelling all night inflight, I am back in London.

So that's it. My rush around the world for Katie's 21st all over! I am feeling a little dilerious, and out of it, but hopefully if I can manage to stay awake till a decent time tonight, I should be back to normal in no time.

Now the question remains - what the hell am I going to do with all that Dong!!?? I'm such an idiot, I didn't change it at the airport as I was leaving. And noone is that excited to change it here. Bugger!

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