Saturday, November 27, 2021

An Afternoon in Hanoi

"Everyone seems content to have a nap, but not being much of a napper and feeling a little bit fidgety, I take off on my own to explore some of Hanoi's lesser known alleys.
A lifetime's worth of discovery awaits down these little lanes, some so choked with motorbikes it's almost impossible to pass. There is an authenticity very reminiscent of Jodhpur here that could easily be missed without this time to simply observe. Tarps and awnings protect storefronts from rain and any debris that might be coming from balconies overhead. Perhaps the sunshine too, but I wouldn't know about that. [It was overcast the entire time we were in Hanoi.] Families sit on tiny plastic stools outside their shop or home, enjoying a meal and some conversation. At an intersection, an elderly woman sits on her stool, in a position that in minutes would leave me without circulation in my legs. She seems content to sit out her day like this, watching. I wonder if she sees the same things that I do, if I see anything that she does, but I am content to watch her do her watching. It's a beautiful, tiny moment among among a thousand others happening on this street right now. I wonder what it would look like if the sun were to come out, and the streets weren't always covered with a fine layer of wet dust. Normally, one might call 'wet dust' mud, but really, this is wet dust."
- an excerpt from Distant Early Warning, the Southeast Asia portion of the big trip.

The woman on the stool

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