Tien's first day in Hanoi

  • By Daniel
  • 2010-05-27 23:05:00-0700

On the morning of May 27 we woke up, rented a motorbike and immediately got lost in old town Hanoi. We got really lost too, and didn't find our way back to the lake for about an hour or two. When we finally did we stopped for breakfast. I had a western breakfast, a delicious omelette and a cappuccino. It was delicious, and a welcome change to the otherwise mediocre breakfasts I'd been subsisting on.

I managed to avoid getting a ticket for riding our motorbike on the sidewalk when Tien spotted the cops who were pulling people over, then continued on to the Ngoc Son temple. Tien had seen Hoan Kiem lake in a lot of books and on TV as a child and had always wanted to go there, and now she was finally there. It's a special place for Vietnamese people because it has historical significance dating back a few centuries.

32::AM::137We went into the Jade temple and looked around. Tien went to the buddha's and prayed in the standard way, with her palms together, raising and lowering them three times towards the statue. Watching her, I got a great idea for an iPhone game that would use the accelerometer. You'd run around a temple and pray to as many buddha's as you could as quickly as possible. I'd call the game Buddha Blitz.

We proceeded on to the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh was, but it ended up being closed. I was having fun riding the moto though so I didn't mind so much. I had sold my last motorcycle a year prior and had missed riding most of that year. We cruised by some other spots on the way back to the hotel. It began raining just as we arrived, so we stayed in for the afternoon and geeked out.

We had dinner at a small restaurant that sold mostly chicken and rice, and I thought about self identity. I saw a man come in with tattoos and piercings, two things that I had at one time wanted but never gotten. I thought back about how I'd wanted to dye my hair and pierce my ears, but my parents didn't let me do that when I was younger. By the time I was old enough to do it I didn't want to anymore, it wasn't part of my identity. I thought about how this detached my physical appearance from how I perceive myself. Because I couldn't distinguish myself when I was younger, I lost the will to do so. I remembered a daydream I had while driving down 280 a few years ago. I dreamed I was running through the grass fields of the Stanford Campus by the dish. What was remarkable though was that it was the first time that I could remember since I was a kid that I saw myself from a third person perspective in a dream, I usually dream in the first person perspective. I have ended up with a weak style of physical appearance for expression, and primarily a sense of style for what is easy for color blind people to do without thinking about it. I thought about how this related to my disconnection from a lot of my own people, white american men or white people in general, and a disconnection from what people my own age "ought" to behave like.

On the way home we got Oreo cookies, potato chips, juice and beer. I got online with the wired ethernet cable I found coiled up outside the door to our room while Tien went and booked us a bus ticket to Ha Long City leaving the next morning at 8am.