Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 1: Hanoi

Compliments on my fanny pack continued in Hanoi. Our travel companions were aglow, abuzzed and agush over its strange aesthetic powers.

I had fun riding bikes around the Old Quarter with Blake the next morning. He maintained his composure and his hair ended up pretty much the same way it started. Dukovny-esque.

It was pretty trippy dodging the high-paced throngs. Old guys pulling carts of mangoes suddenly apearing from out of the blue, lots of women in pointy straw hats carting avocados and bananas hanging from baskets at the end of bamboo poles they had balanced on their shoulders, mopeds up the ying-yang tooting their horns, greyhounds swivelling on spits in a giggle of yelping blazes...

Across the street from the Quilt Society where Blake and Contessa were finalising the purcase of an exquisite bed spread, De Campo and I were shooting through the saloon doors of Highway 4 and sauntering in like a couple of shit-eating cowpokes hankering for a thirst.

Highway 4 specialised in rice liqueurs. Big jars like the kind scientists keep fetuses in were collected around the bar and full of the stuff. The most interesting ones contained geckos and honeybees. The English guy who ran the place was sitting nearby. He had Steven Seagal karate hair and porkchop sideburns. He pointed at the rice liqueurs menu and suggested we stick to the fruity ones. Blake had a White Ginseng called One Night, Five times. The Great Contessa's tasted like floor varnish. De Campo's were the tastiest if the least adventurous. I had Traffic Lights, a tricoloured cocktail (red= Mulberry liquer; amber=orange juice; and green=creme de yum) that turned me into a clairvoyant. I was suddenly nine minutes ahead of everyone as I sped through the red light and quickly approached the yellow. 'What Traffic Lights?' quipped Blake.

My stomach ached for food and the wild horse pie, grlled dogmeat and crickets on the menu had me twisted up in nervous knots. Who would have known, not even my psychic drink could have foresaw this, me sticking a roasted sparrow into my hungry maw a few hours later, but that's what I did and you know what, it was good, but not as good as the corndog shrimp or the crabmeat and at least I didn't eat the head however I will say this: the talons were fantastic!

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