After my hideous previous post, I thought I should write something else, something that sounds promising, like a lemon cleanse for my blog. I live on an almost-island on the largest lake in Hanoi city. The lake is called Tay Ho, which means 'West Lake', because it is in the West. Ironically, it is also the centre of expat (Westerner, also called: Tays) life. My little island is predominantly Vietnamese, excepting one fantastic bar (passionfruit mojitos!) and the fact I can bike for ten minutes and hit what I refer to as 'expat street' (xuan dieu), where I can buy all the baked goods and imported marmalade my heart desires.
Meanwhile Yen Phu road (not on the island) is purely Vietnamese madness, and I barely recognize the street depending which time of day I bike down it. Sometimes, it seems to be all clothes shops, then, hours later, there are nothing but noodle stands as far as my less-than-20/20 eyes can see. The shops and stalls seem to open in mutually exclusive shifts, and the street is always packed with more traffic than it was built for and a dizzying array of delightful and absurd temptations.
Despite this close proximity to nonsense, 'Yen Phu village' itself (the little island) is a blissfully sleepy and quiet reprieve from the horns and dust of Hanoi. When I bike in from a long day teaching, or running errands in Hanoi traffic, I actually feel lighter as I cross over from the Mainland. Especially at night, with the trees full of lights.
My dreamy, light-swamped and almost eerily quiet apartment is in the inside of this island. If the island was a swimming dugong, I would be sitting near his little smile.