Nanjing, the "southern capital", and one of the biggest "what-ifs” of Chinese history...
Where the maritime silk road ended, adventure begins...
What did I expect, when I visited the former Kingdom of a Million Elephants, the hidden jewel of old Indochina? An alternate Vietnam, where elephant did indeed roam the streets? A “lesser” version of Thailand, without the trademark smiles and tourist services to match?
Every periphery is also its own centre.
Hanoi might genuinely be one of the few cities I've lived in where the sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole. Generally, Hanoi gets quite a bad press from a lot of western tourists; it's too polluted, the weather is temperamental and goes from one extreme to another, and most of all, the nightlife is incomparable to that of Saigon.
A correspondence with my younger self, two and a half years ago...what's happened since graduation?
Aspects of a colonial past and a large-scale public education project haunt this childhood space.