back in Ha Noi

Ah Ha Noi! What a beautiful city you are!

I’m so pleased to be back in Ha Noi, working once again with ARLEMP and living at Khach San Terry Diep.

This city is truly intoxicating particularly when you are living in an alley that simply teems with life. In the mornings there is a market from about 5am and the produce and food available change as the day progresses.

The locals are bemused as I sit every morning and eat the wonderful green coloured fried sticky rice cakes with bean curd inside for my breakfast. They come wrapped in banana leaves before being fried on a metal plate over a steel drum containing a charcoal powered fire. One of these sustains me for most of the day.

A walk out of the alley on to the busy main thoroughfare reveals dozens of Hanoians going through their morning exercise regimens. People of all ages walk, jog or engage in stretches or thi chi. this morning I sat and drank ca phe da and watched a couple playing badminton on the sidewalk and saw them lose their shuttlecock in the myriad of overhead powerlines.

I watched as older ladies walked arm in arm, their lips stained with betel underneath their conical hats and many sat and chatted to begin the day. I heard a cackle of protest from a chicken and peered in to the gloom of a small yard as it was quickly dispatched ready for plucking and the cooking pot as its younger siblings scattered beneath my feet.

Workers from the building site near the house carried long lengths of reinforcing steel while others wheeled ancient looking bicycles with wicker baskets draped across full of sand to mix the concrete.

Another day begins and my tired sleep befuddled mind tries hard to comprehend all that is happening around me. Input overload yet again.