Hanoi is not a city that sleeps

Rests, sure. Pauses, at times.

But sleeps? Nah.

And so

The streets today are jammed. Cyclists spin by, three abreast, punctuated by motorbikes shipping wares, most fully helmeted and many choosing not to care. Pedestrians, all masked, make their way along the lakeside. The air is muggy.

The heat is coming

Shops are opening up, the city is breathing new life.

I’m not an epidemiologist, I just play one on tv.

But it seems like we’re entering a new phase, one where we live with Covid, bring back a sense of what is normal.

Do we really know what’s normal?

And, in the midst of the rush, I’m taken back to being locked, and I


I wander away from the tiny shop, an impossible four shelves by three aisles somehow stocked with anything you could ask

I am vexed by the lack

Of even a single motorbike

An exercising granny

A puppy on the prowl

But tonight, in these days of lockdown

I am alone

And I like it.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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  1. Your opening lines remind my of my first trip to New York City; it is a city that never sleeps as well. Seeing footage on TV during the early days of COVID, with no one out on the NYC streets so famously crowded and congested with traffic, was eerie. Ghost town-ish. That is the feeling I got while reading about Hanoi. I, too, savored the quiet and stillness in the initial lockdown days when we had no idea for how long…and I understand the longing even in the midst of celebration at the slow return to normal (whatever it shall be), Your spare lines make such a smooth transition from now to then, sparking reflection.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so strange to see the shifts between lockdown and “regular life” and not know what is “normal” now. I still flinch when I see unmasked people and I wonder how long that will last. The quietness is double edged.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where I live in Georgia, we never really shut down except for March and April at the very beginning. Some places closed for a little while, but even schools resumed to close the year and masks were optional. Most here have had Covid, some twice. Your observation that we are moving to a place of living with Covid and trying to bring back normal is what I have seen here, too. The difference is, from what I can only imagine, your place is ultra urban and mine is ultra rural. I, too, love to be alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve said this countless times this month, but I love reading about other perspectives and places on the world. I had to reread the line about everyone being masked outdoors. Masks have been coming off quickly here. We entered the phase you’re transitioning to a while ago now. I still hang onto some of the ways we have grown used to slower and quieter.

    Liked by 1 person

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