Sylvia and I, vol. 24

August 21st, 2014, 12pm

Another overcast day. We ride into the old French Quarter, tasting rain drops, looking for those large fried parcels filled with —- we don’t know but we are excited to find out —- for lunch. Its only noon and they are sold out. I struggle with Vietnamese’s strange sense of inefficiency. There is a demand for your product, why not make more? It’s only noon for Christ sake.

Now that I have cracked the nut, everything is just a little different. The vegetable lady gave me chilies for free last time. Today she squeezed the cucumbers and potatoes, making sure I got a good one. Sylvia and I made a sudden left turn just before we pull up on to the sidewalk in front of the apt —- we are not ready to head in and return to work. Outside. More. We ride into another unknown part of the city, around some other body of water.

I said I would take the last week and head up to Sapa or down to Hue, something, elsewhere. But with 17 countable days left in Hanoi, I am hesitating. It’s as if you are in the middle of a travel romance (you know what I am talking about), with only a few days left, you suddenly decide to sneak out and sleep with the cute guy that just checked in instead the one you have in your bed. Going elsewhere feels like I’m cheating on Hanoi. This bit of irrational thinking is brought on by the ticking clock and because I don’t want to leave —- even if I am in need of a haircut, miss my bed, NYC and would gladly trade the traffic of Broadway for the sound of construction (my daily alarm). I could promise Hanoi that I will come back, I will come back and continue this love affair, with Sylvia by my side, but that’s as real as promising your vacation romance you will see each other again. Not improbable, just unlikely, especially for the likes of us. No, I’m not suggesting that we are International trollops, falling in love with cities across the globe, the one with the most exotic name this week, the one with the deepest history next week —- well, okay, maybe we are.

Perhaps I should finish this love affair w/ a night at the Sofitel, duvet, bathtub, swimming pool, sun drenched rooms and sound proofing. An equivalent of hot, passionate, lets not leave the room until our flight kind of cinematically climatic end?

I could just be sleep deprived and eaten too much MSG.

*Determined to eat a fried parcel, I went back today. Nem cua bể, delicious packets with a crisp light golden skin struggling to contain the vegetables, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms and crab that’ve sneaked in.

Philippe, Mike and Daniel said thanks.

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Charlie Grosso

Photographer - Writer. Adventure Traveller. Brand Consultant. Art Gallery Director. Possible Spy. Always on the road, living under an alias. Seeking co-conspirators.

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