Sunday, February 7
Today wasn’t even a day, to be honest. In my 21 hour journey I completely lost track of time - it’s quite disorienting. This post is mostly to announce my reunion with Miki. But I also want to note the surreal feeling of being a minority. I really realized I was an outsider when they gave me a how-to-eat-a-Bibimbop pamphlet on the plane.
After some confusion at the airport (including me being filmed during immigration for what I'm guessing is a pro-government commercial of sorts) we found each other, found our driver and headed to our hostel. Hanoi is unlike any other city I’ve ever seen before. Smoggy beyond belief with tightly cramped streets, and drivers that make NYC cabbies look like overly-cautious newly-licensed sixteen-year-olds. But incredible in its own right, I discovered, staring in awe at the fireworks the city put on in honor of the New Year. The streets swelled with thousands of people, and Miki and I took it all in - me stupidly wearing flip-flops in the dirty streets of Hanoi. Rookie mistake #1. I’m sure there will be many more of those. Also, as I flew from Seoul to Hanoi, the skies below in China sparkled with hundreds of thousands of firework shows in honor of the Lunar New Year. They flickered across the grid in reds and golds. A pretty warm welcome from Southeast Asia, I must say.
The hard numbers:
# of travel hours: 21
# of movies watched 3
# of plane Bibimbops: sadly, only 1
# of hours of plane sleep: 2.5
# of out-the-window photos taken: 3
# of bunk beds in this room: 4
# of showers with no doors in this hostel: 2
# of times I’ve smiled since I got here: I don’t think I can count that high