"I was a very lazy tourist in Vietnam. In my first week in Hanoi, I met many
other travelers who had seen more in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos than I
managed during the same five days. I visited only two sites highlighted in
the Lonely Planet and never left the quaint streets of the city’s Old
Quarter. I found I spent my days hanging out at Le Pub, a small friendly bar
on Pho Hang Be — good coffee, good beer, tasty spring rolls, and free
watermelon shooters if you hung around late enough at night.
I’m an inveterate journaler, and even though I had my laptop with me
(holidays morph far too easily into working holidays), I preferred to record
my impressions in my notebook. I was traveling alone, and so took a ton of
pictures, but one of the best afternoons of the trip came on my last day in
Hoi An when my camera battery ran out. Instead of prowling the streets
looking for photo ops, I switched to hunting for a place to sit and sip
coffee. At an outdoor stand, on a low stool in the shade under a tarp by
the water, I watched flat boats ferry school kids and their bicycles across
the river, and covered page after page in my journal with sweat-smeared
writing. It is a pictureless memory, of course, but this photo from Le Pub
[pictured] captures its spirit somehow."
(My hang-out in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Le Pub.
For any Canadians traveling there, they serve poutine.)
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