Trails and trials of the writer who walks
You can see quite a lot of Hanoi from the train, at very close quarters. I wonder what it feels like when the overnight sleeper passes just feet from your bedroom window?
The station of Hanoi is the nutrient of life, like an organism on a dish with extending tentacles to which burgeoning cells cling. Historically, it was a magnet for homeless, for beggars and prostitutes, drawn by the possibility of profit from wealthy commercial travellers. There is still the feel of ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in the farrago of market stalls and workshops hugging the station’s rear entrance.
It seems the right place to buy a hat, though. The vendor’s starting price is well below any in the Old Quarter where western tourists have inflated the haggle margins. The hat I choose is bright yellow. It doesn’t suit me, in fact I look like a walking traffic beacon, which is why I bought it – to reduce my chances of being run over.