Rats and Good Times
The best part of Hanoi for me was by far all of the great people I met, mainly through couchsurfing events. I met Des, Daniel and Mario on my first night in Hanoi and we met again later the next week at the Tamarind Cafe, first on Wednesday and then Thursday. I had already been there on Monday and Tuesday, the second time with another fun couchsurfing friend Simon. It was nearby and with an extensive vegetarian menu – and unfortunately only two cds on constant rotation – playing Careless Whisper, Billy Ocean, and an earworm song with a chorus of 'On a Sunday, a Sunday, a Sunday…'. As we left at closing on Thursday and the staff said see you tomorrow, we laughed. But Mario had reached a breaking point with the music, and protested against going back until they got some new cds.
I hadn't been planning to go back after Wednesday when Des pointed out the rat running up towards our table, after which we saw them darting back and forth, near our table, at the other end of the restaurant – reflected in my ipad screen I saw one run across the skylight in between the two floors. “For every one you see, there's 12 you don't see” Daniel said several times.
But on Thursday after I finished my second art class I got an email from Mario saying they were there again, and I made my way back to hang out with my new friends at our cafe – kind of like home, except I don't even manage to do this at home. The same music, some of the same friends and no rats in sight that time around.
We stayed there for hours at a time, talking about travel and plane tickets, eating the condiments that came with Mario's coffee – sweet cinnamon bark and carmelized sugar cubes. Mario who is from Costa Rica said howler monkeys are the most beautiful things in the world, after sluts. Sloths, that is, if you say it without a Spanish accent. It was a really good time.