Nau da vs Sua da

Sitting in a typical cafe owned by an Old Quarter lady, I feel the urge write something for my only day in Hanoi before heading to Laos but feel so weird. After half a year it is still the “nau da” instead of “sua da” I know. Old quarter still has the same vibe. When the xe om driver drove me pass by red river, the vast farm there made my heart skipped for a few seconds but that’s it. My sense of nostalgia is lost.

For a few minutes the well-repeated “Hanoi is rude” slogan of Saigoneers pop up in my head which makes me notice some rude behaviours to confirm, but my own experiences are stronger so those external affirmations do not make any sense. It is partly right, but it also reflects a certain degree of fear and defense mechanism disguised in judgement when you fail to blend in. It sucks to feel like an outsider, but some even choose to be outsiders before observing.

I wanna miss it. I can’t. Too familiar to detach. Just comfortable but not curios. I am a bit disappointed of myself since I thought I have gained a certain vantage point, at least within this country to compare one region over another. I expected myself to be able to explain at least why the north behaves as such and the south behaves as such, but it is not black and white.

Even if the Northerners are rude as the Southerners say, I still feel nothing. Feeling comfortable and at ease increases my tolerance and overall, enjoyment. Yes I can complain “Hmm there is just one tra da”, or I can just sip the brown liquid in front of me and watch people go by. There is that great weird feeling after a few hours and you change color like a chameleon.

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