We chugged into Hanoi at 5:00 this morning. Though the night’s sleep was interrupted by a midnight border crossing, I feel rested enough to forgo any nap. From the balcony of our hotel room, the sounds of motor engines below lend me a bit of the energy I might naturally lack.
We crossed an interesting border today. Somewhere in the darkness outside of our train window, in the humid night masked by the cigarette smoke of other passengers, the feeling of this trip changed again. Traveling in the tropics: I experience it through my olfactory glands, with the full fresh smell of plants that grow above rot and the tickle of smoke in my nostrils. The sounds of engines and people’s voices mingle, the melody of street hawking and a piercing notes of a birthday song sung in the hotel lobby. I have lived in humid places where bougainvillea claws concrete buildings, and the sensation of being somewhere hot always fills me with the past, a past that didn’t necessarily belong to me, but that I went out and found. Usually I step into this wet heat from the airless cavity of an airplane. Today, the heat grew around me, slowly pushing my traveling feeling into a new (final?) realm.