Ha Noi. One month. I look from the window of my office at the 12th floor of the Vietnam Academy for Social Sciences. Hi see high rising buildings that are being built all around the town. I hear the beat of the town, the ten of thousands of motorbikes and the car of this town which has about 2ml inhabitants. The sky has been gray most of the time. It is winter time and as back home the sun hides behind the clouds. It is one month and I find it still difficult to put together my thoughts about this town (I do not speak of Vietnam as this is a large country and so far we have only been in Ha Noi). On the one hand it is a familiar place. We visited here when Olga was about 1 year old. We went to Ha Long Bay and enjoyed the sea. At that time two things surprised me very much: the traffic and the fact that people do not usually smile as in Cambodia.
These two things have remained with me even now. The comparison with Cambodia is inevitable as that is the country I have been living with Katja have been for four years and which represents to me the term of comparison for this part of the world. Cambodia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Viet Nam. Country side, town. Hot, humid. Green, gray. Poor, richer. The more I will learn Viet Nam the less, I think, I will compare it to Cambodia. But at the moment this is the case. Cambodia is somehow like home. Ha Noi and Viet Nam are still to be discovered.