He drives a scooter around Hanoi crazy roads – the “moped madness”. It is nothing like driving his car in ordered motorways in Europe I bet. But he handles the chaos very well with less swearing words than sarcastic comments. He becomes a part of the chaos.
He tried Hanoi street food and put up with a lot of stares. Apparently six months in South East Asia has not given him a tan to blend in. But he doesn’t put up with the rudeness of some to many in the shops or on the streets here. He misses England for its politeness I bet. I know I do.
He learns Vietnamese, a tone language with at least twenty words to address a second person – a “you” (just to make it easier). He tried to order his food (and coffee) in Vietnamese. Sometimes it worked. Most of the times it doesn’t. But he doesn’t stop trying.
He loves Hanoi summer. He enjoys bike rides in the sun. He lives for now. Right now. This late morning. A run in park. The sun. The heat. The summer smell. The very presence of Hanoi. Spontaneous. My English man in my Hanoi.
Punting refers to boating in a flat-bottom boat (punt) on shallow water. The Cam of England is full of punts on any day when it is not too freezing to be out and about on the water. In the picture was my punter when I was in Cambridge: a young good looking well-educated man. Elegantly, he lifted the pole up to push it against the river bed. He took us along the river telling stories about the prestigious Cambridge university which have homed some greatest thinkers…and more. There, I could admire some magnificently and solemnly standing architectures which must have seen the world change for the better. Such a privilege!
I remember crying my heart out on the phone with you after I saw a picture of my ex’s new girl friend. Two year later, I found out that he was getting married. I feel normal. That is closure, dear! It took a long time. I could not have done that without you on my side all the time (even just to tell me that they are more meant to be).
So best friend, you can always tell me about your closures. I know sometimes it’s awkward. I know sometimes it’s painful. Many times it is simply impossible to let go the past. It’s normal. I will be there for you regardless. I will tell you how silly you are. We can laugh at our misfortune. Remember that it is their misfortune not to have us in their life.
Hand in hand a couple left Butterworth railway station. They were singing a Neil Young’s song. The girl didn’t sing to the notes. That didn’t bother the guy. She coughed randomly. That didn’t bother her.
They stayed in a family-run guesthouse. There was no hot water for the shower but there were hammocks swaying away afternoons when it’s too hot to go to the beach. They petted the family’s cats and danced to Bob Marley in the front room. They were in love.