Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air - Hanoi

Big fat cheat Flight number 2 completed smoothly. Smoothly that is apart from the £200 excess baggage charge and the near run-in with immigration when it emerged my visa was scheduled to begin the day after I arrived. Thanks are due to the super-friendly Thai Airways check-in ladies, the lenient (i.e. couldn't care less) Vietnamese immigration staff, and the Kingfisher check-in guy for pretending I was only 10kg overweight, not 30. Another case of Iran being better than the rest - the lovely folks at Imam Khomeini International saw fit to charge not a penny for the same amount of stuff...

This is my first time in South East Asia, and my first impressions are good. From the airport in Bangkok and the streets of Hanoi there seems to be a pleasing overabundance of females, and a strikingly high percentage of stunningly beautiful ones. Elegantly riding bikes as well as the Danish, menacingly riding scooters with Burberry helmets, sitting on the street arranging flowers, cooking meat or noodles, or just smiling sweetly. They won't challenge the Persian beauty, but they'll come a close second.

Hanoi is a pretty crazy city (3.7 million people, 2 million motorbikes and scooters) but in spite of this it's sweet relief after the even crazier streets of Delhi. Here there is uniformity, which allows prediction and anticipation. And there are pavements without holes down into sewers. And no cows. Crossing the road is still a challenge though. The Hanoian technique is to assume a slow and deliberate stroll, allowing the shoal to navigate around you. The only Indian technique I ever mastered (aside from simply staying indoors) was to put my hand out confidently and run. The Iranian roads had lanes so could be crossed 7 feet at a time, usually with a panicked, sprinting finale.

So now I wait. Eight more days to pass before I get to hug the person I last hugged over 7 months ago. Then we ride, and I have my first day back on the bike for about 7 weeks, and Georgie the first of 4 months to come. I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. Be careful, some of those stunning women might actually be men!