[Insert Stock Apocalypse Now Quote]

19 10 2011

Two months between posts is a little bit much, I’ll admit. But you know, settling into your third city in three years is always taxing. And China has recently decided to block wordpresses, making this all the more difficult. After a short week in America, I found myself returning back to Shanghai for what’ll be at least another year here in China. My parents started a running joke that if they’d know that I’d end up here 23 years ago, they might as well have not left for the states in the first place. I’ve got a weird relationship with this city, and while I’m excited for the new job and the prospect of new friends, it’ll take some time to get my feelings about this place into context. I guess more on that at a later time. I managed to be in Shanghai for a whole two weeks before one of the two big national holidays rolled around (conveniently celebrating the inception of the modern day communist China), giving me a week’s worth of vacation to take advantage of. So without hesitation, I jumped on the first available flight to Vietnam for a week with the ever missed Beijing crew.

Vietnam was my first real experience in southeast Asia (Malaysia doesn’t really count with it being a weird amalgam of peoples and a predominantly Muslim country) and it really is a very overwhelming region of the world to take in all at once. Living in China is often times a sensory overload, but the tastes and sounds and sights of Vietnam are completely in a field of its own. While never a huge fan of colonialism, I’ve gotta tip my hat off to the French in some respects. The Vietnamese have done a fabulous job of holding onto all the awesome parts of French culture while losing most of the lamer ones. The old quarters of Hanoi are filled with charming winding streets that mix in the hectic bustle of mopeds and street vendors with the weirdly romantic ambling of an old 19th century European city. The coffee in Vietnam is out of this world, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Banh Mi is an amazing little sandwich that’s sold on almost every street corner, incoprorating the baguette, pate, soft cheese, and delicious local vegetables.

After a few days walking around Hanoi, I met up with the always trusty Beijing contingency near Hoi An, where Roth’s parents graciously allowed us to stay in their gorgeous beachside villa timeshare. The word luxury should be embarassed that its not what the Nam Hai was. Hoi An is a cute little town that’s considered the tailoring capital of the world, and provided ample eateries and coffee shops for us to wander around. We took a daytrip out to the temples of My Son, structures that have weathered a few centuries and a good old American shellacking not but a few decades back.  We just so happened to be there just as a typhoon was coming through the central coast, but seriously, with your own infinity pool, its hard to let that get you down.

I always feel bad about waxing on generalized observations made about a country that I’ve only spent a short amount of time in, so I won’t. What I will say is that if you get the chance to go to Vietnam, please do. And do so before the Australian backpackers turn it into Thailand. I’m back in Shanghai now, and am finally starting to officially settle in. A more generalized, non-traveling post soon, I promise.

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One response

18 10 2012
developingcityblog

Nice big pics.

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