image: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Hanoi's Old Quarter.
Two things which make me all warm and fuzzy lately:
Independent Fashion Designers: If you don't know, I am (theoretically) really opposed to sweat shops, although this opposition is somewhat difficult to put into practice in South-East Asia, where the sweat shop should really be on the national flags of: Thailand, Vietnam and China (especially China, of course). Lucky for me, there is a growing sense of "buy local" happening right here in Hanoi, where the products are beautiful and high quality and the woman who sewed it is right in front of you, chatting away on her cell-phone, twirling her curled hair through her fingers. If she has the expendable income to get her hair permed, that's good enough for me. And she is usually a fashion/ business student who will say something like "are you a member of the women's business club?" and then give me a discount, because I live in Hanoi and work, as a woman. Haha. Great! Needless to say, I have been supporting this 'cause' heavily, in preparation for my move to Germany.
Kittens: I don't really need to explain this one, since everyone (nice) loves kittens, even people who are allergic can't help it. But anyway: yesterday morning was shit. I am staying in a cheap, dodgy hotel currently where there was no hot water (it is really cold here at the moment), there was a screaming match between some Australians and the reception, breakfast was awful and over-priced and they had misplaced my laundry (they found it, sans my favourite leggings and covered in white paint... ?!). So I trudged downstairs in a foul mood when who should run into my path but a TINY black and white kitten! (It was so small it could have fit into my hand). Now, most kittens here are scared of humans (with good reason) but this one ran right up to me, crawled onto me and started purring. Suddenly, I was in a wonderful mood and could easily forget the trials of the morning - and even thanked the reception for all of their help.