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Yin & Yang

Hanoi, Vietnam
12/22/07

Wow! We made it up the country from South Vietnam to Hanoi. The bus rolled in early around 7 or 8 AM. I’m feeling drained. I remembered the conversation with the cranky French couple in the Mekong Delta. Regardless of the route, I do not think it makes a difference. Despite the beauty, over time things can wear on you. I’m tired and just want to be left alone. I am also tired of having to bargain for everything and having to say a stern “No” to persistent smiley innocent faces.

Given our early arrival, we had to wait to for a vacant room but were glad to get one since the place was packed. Oh yeah, I think a holiday was approaching. Christmas perhaps?

Once we got a room, it felt refreshing to wash my face and armpits. Instead of taking a nap. Alex took me out to explore. At first I was annoyed but once we were walking through the enchanting city, I could not help but change my tune.  Walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter made me happy. The weather was cloudy and foggy which gave the area an air of mystery and romance. People practicing Tai Chi and couples walking hand-in-hand felt Eastern and Western at the same time. Yin and yang. An old lady put a carrying pole with balanced baskets on my shoulder. Instead of paying a few Dong like she had wanted, I carried the load for her for a bit.

After a bit of a walk, Alex was ready for a nap. After walking around & a large dose of Vietnamese coffee, I was wired. I took advantage of having time to myself to get my 1st Asian pedicure. Not only did I feel like I was back in the Vietnamese-zone in Falls Church, ironically the owner had family there in the DC area. Small world! On the way back from getting prettied up, I was easily talked into buying a bag of rambutans.

While Alex & I walked through the rough romantic cobble-stoned streets lined with rubbish looking for coffee, I busted my butt. My pretty feet were short lived. I scraped up the bottom of my feet. It was sad to have to wear shoes after finally making my feet look pretty.

Even though I was loving the whimsical vibe, I am bored with cities. Although Alex & I probably trek a good 5 plus miles per day in the city, I longed for proper exercise and nature. I want adventure. Am I just being a brat? Why do I always want more instead of enjoying what I have? There was nothing wrong with Hanoi. Life is good. Alex & I sauntered down a solitary street-side restaurant to enjoy a lovely dinner. Hanoi was pretty and Parisian with a rugged Asian undertone. I guess it was fitting that I had pampered pedicured feet slipped into my sturdy Keens for protection of my fresh wounds. Yin & Yang.

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