Wednesday, October 17 – Hanoi, Vietnam

I’m realizing that I’m going to have to start writing smaller or risk having to buy another book. And my bag is heavy enough.
Last night I hung out with people from the hostel, and that was nice. It is interesting to be around so many travelers, although their conversations aren’t really any less banal than others. Granted, we did talk about some interesting things, but ultimately it always turned into a game of one-up.  "I know, but when I was in Burma…"  "When I was in India…"  "…in Africa…"  …people just all trying to lay claim to going to the coolest place. I didn’t really want to play, but found myself dragged into it at times.
Even though I went to bed fairly early – around 1 am – everyone else in the dorm was already in bed asleep. One thing travelers can’t seem to do is relax*.  Always going here, there… seeing this, that… so afraid of missing a "must do" or "must see" in the location they’re at. Meanwhile, they seem to be missing where they are at. Poor buggers.
I tried out my new, bright orange, silk sleeping bag. Good tip from Brendan – this thing rocks! The night before I had been too cold but last night I was the perfect temperature (even though I was wearing less clothing than the night before). I had a great sleep overall.
This morning a girl from California (Robin) and I went to a cafe (same one I’m in now) across from St. Joseph’s Cathedral for breakfast. It was amazing! I had a lime/mint juice blended with ice (same as the one I’m drinking now) and it may be my new favourite juice.  It is hyper-refreshing and so tasty.  THis afternoon I’m drinking it while eating fresh spring rolls**. Today Robin and I mostly meandered around, shopping (of course!), and checked out the French Quarter. I think I’ll head back to the hostel, chill, read, and drink some beers. I feel like I have too much time here, and there isn’t much to do (without going on a day-trip that I can’t really afford) that isn’t shopping (that I can’t really afford).  Tomorrow Ho Chi Minh’s Museum (unfortunately his mausoleum’s closed and his bones are on tour) and the Temple of Literature are on the agenda.
*I realize that this statement seems contradictory to the one before it. What I was getting at was that they were all in bed early because they had somewhere they just HAD to be in the morning. It seemed as though most of the people who were in Hanoi were only there to get out of it.  No one could just chill. To bed; up early; go go go go; to bed; repeat.
**Probably not much happening on a day when I write about my damned lunch.

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