Sitting in the business-class lounge in the Hanoi airport, using free wi-fi and drinking a can of passionfruit juice imported from Malaysia (huh?!), waiting for the second leg of the seemingly endless journey from east to west (although my route is eastbound, from Seoul to Atlanta). I’m sorry to be leaving Vietnam — would have liked more time in Hue, in Hoi An, in Saigon.
Tuesday night in Saigon, I walked around and watched people eating, drinking, and just generally hanging out on the sidewalk, as they always do. While I felt pretty fed up with the helter-skelter motorbike traffic and the almost impossible task of walking on the sidewalks (too crowded with seated people and motorbikes to permit much walking), I also thought I could really get to feeling comfortable in Saigon. Much more so than Hanoi. Saigon seems warmer, less harsh. Maybe I just didn’t spend enough time in Hanoi.
Our Intrepid trip leader in Vietnam, Cong, lives near Hanoi. He said if I had one month in Hanoi, I would grow to like it. But he also said, as we sat in the giant colonial-era post office building in Saigon’s District 1: “If I could live anywhere, I would live here.”