Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. Never in my life could I imagine visiting Vietnam. I don't know if it's because it seems like a far away place or if there were many other places to go before, so I didn't really know what to expect. After getting off the bus we looked for a taxi to take us to a homestay we had seen. It is very typical in Vietnam for homestays, that is, to stay in someone's house. They are a kind of hostel. And if we choose well, they are clean, homemade and full of smiles.
We stayed 3 nights, we got to know the city, walking it. Full of cafes and tea bars, with pastries that make Paris the envy, with a "je ne sais quo", with a strong personality that makes us hate and love her at the same time.
The sidewalks are not for walking, they are for parking motorcycles, the edge is not for walking, it is for one more motorcycle, the crosswalks are not for crossing, they are for motorcycles to dodge pedestrians, the horns are not to use in case of danger but at all times, maybe the danger is always there, isn't it?
In Vietnam's transit, priority is given from the largest to the smallest means of transport. In other words: the truck has the highest priority, then the bus, then the car, the motorcycle and at the end of the chain: the pedestrian. Motorbikes, which must be practically one per inhabitant over 14 years of age, of the more than 6 million that make up the capital of Vietnam, do not just fit on the road. They walk along the sidewalks, they whistle for us to deviate, they always take the shortest path, even if it means going the wrong way. And we in the middle, newbies in this art of safe-se who can, just wanted to yell at them to stop. It's a bit like being in an arena dribbling the bull.
There were 3 days without seeing the blue sky, without seeing the sun, only clouds and dust. Even in summer you only see more light, they explain, never the sun. But that doesn't stop the Vietnamese from enjoying the street. At the end of the day and at mealtimes, the walkways become living rooms, gyms, dining rooms. They play badminton, sit on their motorcycles and chat, squat down and play a board game, or on a small bench they rest while eating a local soup.
Pho is one of the most famous dishes in Vietnam. A noodle soup, in which the broth tastes like steak or chicken and then has the freshest herbs. It is impossible to remain indifferent. But here in Hanoi the most cherished dish is Bun Cha. And when Obama and Bourdain get together, that's what they're going to experience. And we went after. A soup with fresh herbs and spices, served with very thin charcoal-grilled pork belly and rice noodles. In the "Obama" combo as it is called now that the image of the former president of the United States has traveled the world in that restaurant, there is also a filo pastry with chopped pork and prawns. All delicious, really. But the place is not the cleanest of all.
I left there salivating and with the sad certainty that I will hardly eat this dish in such a well-done way again. But that's really what a journey is, experiencing and saying goodbye. Feel free and come back for a bun Cha and a 3€ pastel.