Since arriving in Hanoi, I have been completely overwhelmed in the best way possible. Hanoi is impossibly energetic and there is so much going on that it can be difficult to know where to look. Every time I turn my head I see and observe something new. I have only been here for two days and already I feel like a new person.
My first meal was made by a woman sitting on a sidewalk. I watched as she deep fried handmade spring rolls and egg, snipped up cold rice noodles, and placed fresh chillis in fragrant nuoc cham. We sat on tiny, child sized plastic stools in a small alley and I marvelled at how such a delicious meal could be made in plastic buckets and a homemade deep fryer. As I ate and embraced the variety of flavours in my meal, I saw a Vietnamese police officer pull up on his motorbike and chase away a woman selling fruit from baskets hanging off her arms. This was truly a memorable introduction to the city and gave me a real sense of place.
Although dealing with jet lag and a hand injury is frustrating, I am greatly enjoying my time and looking forward to the rest of the trip. I know there will be challenges but this country is beautiful, alive and incredibly inspiring. Already I have met some amazing new friends and colleagues and it is only the beginning!
More updates to come, including a story about my ride on the back of a Vespa through the busy streets of Hoan Kiem district… Another “wow, I’m in Vietnam” moment.