Friday, April 25, 2008

Hanoi Rolls

...on motorbikes whose driver's ride on the sidewalks, go the wrong way down one-way streets, and blaze through red lights and around corners. Nothing much had changed about the traffic since we were there last except there was more of it. I hadn't forgotten how bad the traffic could be, I just forgot how I would react to it.

We were in Hanoi for the month of March as Valerie decided to get her CELTA certification there. I was excited to go back to Hanoi knowing I could probably get CD's made, play some shows, etc.

I spent the first few days in vain trying to find a place to print up some CDs and check out the clubs but was unable to get much done. In fact, the traffic got me so aggravated, I'd come back to the hotel in a rage from almost getting hit several times per day. That and the constant barage of people trying to sell me stuff or give me rides on their motorbikes got under my skin. I quickly turned into the ugly tourist who gets angry at people for their cultural differences, shaking my fist at blank-eyed motorists as they barreled past, narrowly missing me by a few inches. Then a bus would blast it's horn and I'd be this close to losing it completely.

I contemplated genocide- all Vietnamese drivers must die. I contemplated suicide- if I got hit that would show them how badly they drive. I found myself biting my lip from stress each time I had to leave the hotel. My heart palpitated. I had ptsd minus the p.

I thought perhaps all the cafe sua dac was contributing to my anxiety, but a few days going without proved otherwise. It must be said, that Vietnamese ice coffee is to die for- sometimes quite literaly. Several of Valerie's class mates had already been in accidents, including one in a coma. Were it not for the fact that there are plenty of Vietnamese restaraunts in SF where you can drink the liquid crack til your brain explodes, it would almost be worth risking your life in Vietnam for the daily fix.

But thankfully we survived the traffic, and were able to come back to Laos, safe and sound in the land of everything tranquil and good.

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