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Rolling Stone

I have always been something of a nomad, never settling in one place; wanting to know what’s around the corner or the other side of the hill. Most of my travel was confined to Europe with trips to the United States, Canada and South Africa thrown in. So, when the opportunity to move to Bahrain arose, it didn’t need much of a thought and three months later my wife and I arrived.

The move opened up a whole new world of culture to us, one we had never experienced before and the unexpected bonus of the chance to travel to places we once thought out of reach.

Ever since I was a child watching TV footage of the war, I knew Vietnam was a place I must visit. Beyond the death and destruction, I saw a world of beauty and culture; buried by man’s inhumanity to man.

The capital, Hanoi turned out to be a colourful and vibrant city, crowded yet accessible, noisy but welcoming; the people, as I’d long suspected, warm and friendly.

Flying over the countryside on the approach to Hanoi, I wasn’t disappointed; the country every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped. In the distance, the foothills of the Hoàng Liên So mountains, closer to hand, water glinting in the setting sun; a kaleidoscopic by-product of the myriad of rice fields. Vietnam was living up to my expectations and we had only just arrived.

The capital, Hanoi turned out to be a colourful and vibrant city, crowded yet accessible, noisy but welcoming; the people, as I’d long suspected, warm and friendly.

Then the surprise, the food. Vietnamese street food is a fiesta of flavours; never competing, never overwhelming, only harmonising to treat the palate to a display as colourful as the city itself; fireworks for the mouth. Each dish served from a small room to tourists and locals alike, seated on tiny plastic stools at the roadside; the perfect setting for the perfect meal.

 

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Glen R Stansfield is an author, biker and self-described nutcase. He can be reached on glen@glen-r-stansfield.com. To know more about him, visit glen-r-stansfield.com.

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