8,745 MILES: DAY 12 IN HANOI

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today was a low-key day. We didn’t do much until Trang and I left the house after our daily post-lunch nap, a routine I’m starting to really enjoy. We typically take a Grab (Über equivalent) everywhere we go, unless Trang’s sister or dad drives us. There are even Grab motorbikes, which sounds like an incredibly frightening experience. I haven’t gotten used to all the people driving motorbikes, often without helmets, sometimes on their phones, 2-3 people packed together on the small seat. It really freaks me out when I see babies on them.

We met one of Trang’s friends at a bookstore. On the sixth level of the building, there was an area for sandpainting art, a Vietnamese art tradition. We picked out our paper outlines and joined the four-year-olds on stools. The way it works is each paper design has cutout stickers and you remove the ones that you want to be a certain color of sand. For instance, in my first picture of a fruit bowl, I removed the stickers for the watermelon and the cherries and used a spoon to sprinkle red sand over the sticky surface. It was very therapeutic! Here’s the art I made.

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Trang’s friend brought us boba tea and I had peach milk tea with a cream cheese topping (a summer trend here) and white tapioca pearls. It was delicious!

At dinner time, we’ve started watching a Vietnamese soap opera. It’s all in Vietnamese without English subtitles, so I make a game out of guessing the dramatic situation of each scene. “She cheated on him.” “She’s telling her niece she needs to find a man and get married soon and the niece doesn’t like it.” “He’s interested in his daughter’s elementary school teacher.” I’m usually right and I’m proud of this.

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