Hanoi, oppressive introduction to Southeast Asia

I intended to spend several weeks in Vietnam and explore the country from north to south. I only got as far as Hanoi, however, before I thought I had had enough. In Hong Kong, where I had been for a couple of weeks previously, I had gotten very used to air conditioning. The tropical climate of South-East Asia hit me hard. Stunned by the incredible heat and humidity, I felt overwhelmed by the throngs of pedestrians and the ceaseless motorbike traffic. Once a friend began to show me about on her motorbike, I felt blessedly refreshed by the cool wind, though the apparent lack of driving rules was quite terrifying.

Vietnamese proved rather unattractive to this student, not a fan of tonal, isolating languages. It is only recently that I have reflected how my travels have generally been shaped by linguistic considerations, though since I have covered much of the world already, clearly I am not too exclusive in my tastes.

While I quickly felt that Vietnam was not for me, my impressions were not entirely negative. I became a great fan of pho, the delicious Vietnamese soup made with beef and rice noodles.