I’ve been meaning to start writing a blog since I arrived in Hanoi but after a few false starts I gave up and focused my writing attention on the odd article for a local magazine and the reviews and wires I write for travel website travelfish.org. But as I sat in a bar the other week, marveling at yet another new experience — more on that in a moment –, I thought how sad it would be not to have a written record of my time here. I sometimes struggle with remembering what happened this morning, so chances of me remembering my life in Hanoi in a few years’ time are slim. I am writing this for me, but if anyone else wants to have a read: welcome.
So back to the bar. It was a Saturday night and we were going out with friends to the new Zone 9 area but weren’t sure what the food options were. “Let’s go to Vuvuzela to eat first” said our friend, and off we went. Vuvuzela is a self-claimed “beer club” named after the annoying horns associated with football matches in South Africa. Although I understand that the venue does occasionally screen matches on its many large TVs, there seems little other reason for the name: it is Vietnamese owned with no South African style or connection. It’s actually more of a cross between Hooters – the girls wear shorts and tight t-shirts — and TGI Friday’s, but of course, in a Vietnamese way.
It was while I sat there on a high stool, in one of the most crowded and atmospheric bars I’ve been to in Hanoi, drinking a reasonably decent imported beer — it’s not a beer club for nothing –, nibbling on pork ribs, observing the crowds of young and middle-aged Vietnamese and marvelling at the belly dancers — not how good they were, just that they had belly dancers in a Hooters style bar on a Saturday night — that I had one of my “Hanoi rocks!” moments. In fact, this blog was nearly called Hanoi Rocks but the domain wasn’t available and I realised it was a bit naff. Anyway, it was a magical moment, only spoiled by having to share the only ladies’ toilet with a pile of belly dancer costumes. The men get a one-way mirror and a vomit sink, the girls have to share with belly dancers.
And sorry, I don’t have any photos…