Friday, August 17, 2007

Oh Yes, We Remember Him . . .

(Ed. -- Our techinical difficulties have been solved. Remember that these events occurred before those in the earlier entry. Please read in either order with that that in mind.]

You might not know it from the blog (slash we're totallyirresponsible) but when team China (one team one dream) split up, Halliday, Amy and I (Jon) jaunted off to Hanoi. As I write, I'msitting seaside on the roof of an Asian "junk" after a morning of swimming, kayaking, and snacking on dragon fruit in Halong Bay (more below). To get to Hanoi, we flew through Hong Kong -- famous for itsairport shopping -- and used up all our extra Chinese yuan/rmb/zlotys on snacks and American fashion and gossip rags (to catch up on Bradgelina and for photos of clothes to show our tailor in Hanoi).

We spent our first evening in Hanoi doing two things: 1) dodgingtraffic and 2) eating. Once we learned that the trick to crossingstreets in a country with no stop signs/lights and no traffic rules isthat motorbikers also wanted to dodge pedestrians, we were on our way to a spectacular feast. Conveniently (because we are indecisive andalso cannot speak the language and are scared to order without Joshhelping us), Vietnamese restaurants only serve a single dish. In thiscase, the restaurant gave us a card that made as much clear: "We serveonly grilled fish.". Jean Georges Vonvonvonvonbullet, eat your heartout. Grilled fish was one of the best dishes we've had (though we missed EB and Josh terribly). After dinner (maybe it was before), weexplored the lake near our hotel for a bit and then fell asleep -- ok,passed out -- leaving our clothes and the lights on.

We proclaimed the next day in Hanoi "consumerism day" and set our sights on having glasses made (pun embarrassingly intended) and buyingfabric for suits, shirts, skirts, dress-shirts, pants, trenchcoats, and anything else we happened to see on an attractive magazine model.The fabric market was overheated and insane. But the language barrier didn't stop us from negotiating for dirt cheap prices of moderatelyattractive pieces of cloth. Fabric in hand, we grabbed a quick bowl of pho and then rushed to the tailor to have our dreams sewed together from whole cloth. The experience at the tailor was comparable to Shanghai, with a few subtledifferences. For example, when I (still Jon) requested my suit be"skinny" and demonstrated how I wanted my pants to fall on my hips and thighs, the seamstress didn't hesistate for a second to reject mydemand: "I'm not making you women's pants.". Next, I gave her a pairof Josh's pants that he'd asked to be copied. He wanted only two things -- that they be lined and that the pocket have another pocketinside it to hold his cell phone. Oh no, how would we explain"pocket-in-a-pocket" to our tailor. If only our whole experience could be that easy. "I remember this guy," the tailor said. "A 'pocket-in-a-pocket,' I know how to do that now. Do you want one in your pants, too." Nope, I shook my head. Not a chance. (But really, Josh, I think it's nice -- not to mention practical).

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