Oh Hanoi, Hanoi, Hanoi, you weary me with your noise, your pollution, your noise pollution… your stink, your humidity, your scooters and motorbikes and the smell of their exhausts and the sounds of their engines; your crumbling roads, your crumbling sidewalks, your lack of sidewalks, your sidewalks that are not sidewalks but are parking lots instead, your incessant horn honking, your puddles and mud on and alongside the roads, your polluted lake littered with trash and dead fish, and its murky, milk-coffee-grey color; your solicitations from untrustworthy taxi drivers.
You’re cool. You’re beautiful (on the whole). You’re great! I really like you, but I’m not doing anything here with you any longer. You no longer stimulate me in the way you once did, and my life here no longer feels purposeful. I need to leave. At least for a little while. I’d love to come back though. And don’t forget it! I love watching you grow, and the frenetic, insane energy contained within your walls, streets, and alleyways. I love your little shops, and eating stalls and cafes found through the doorways, the living rooms or dining rooms or hallways of families’ homes, up a back staircase to a second or third floor. I love how so much is hidden away, tricky to find, but still discoverable if you know where and how to look. Often times it seems walking down an alley or through a door must be like walking into the bedroom closet of a certain professor, parting some clothing and finding yourself in a strange new land. I love the smiles of your people when smiled to. I love all the varieties and tastes of your food, especially the fresh fruit I can find on many a street corner. But I fear so much of this I can find elsewhere, and right now I need an elsewhere because at least the discovery of a new place will stimulate and renew the sense of purpose in me (I hope). This stagnancy must not last.