Station Guidelines

“Remember the rules,” Frank said, and took another drag of his crooked cigarette. The thin paper had wrinkled in the fog. “Keep your eyes down.” Frank took the damp cigarette out of his mouth, squinted at it in the yellow train station light, and let out a small sigh before putting it back between his lips.

For once in my life I was too tense to smoke. The weather made it worse, oozing up from the south. I guess that was it, the fog reminded me of the smoky, underground room that had got me into this mess in the first place.

“How long?” I asked Frank. The tip of his cigarette drooped sadly downward, and glowed as he inhaled.

“Dunno,” he said, releasing a puff of smoke.

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Designing a Tent

For a while, we’ve had the idea of camping while in Hanoi. However, spending the $100 on a heavy tent that we would have to sell before we left the city didn’t sound that great. At several campsites you can rent a tent for 100,000vnd which is about $4, but we knew we could make our own resuable tent for a decent price too. That way, we could design it to be the way we wanted, use it as often as we wanted, and still not feel bad about leaving it behind when it’s time to go.

Here are the steps Josh and I went through to design and build our own tent. We didn’t read anything before we started, we just wanted to see what we could come up with.

We wanted a two person tent that was suspended by cord attached to either one or two high points. We had no idea what the actual measurements would be, just what kind of style we wanted. This plan was intended for flexibility, so we could put the tent up even in an area with no trees, even though we wouldn’t have any tent poles with elastic.

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Trip to Hải Phòng

The trip did not start out well. Ten meters from my apartment, I nearly hit a man who had run into the street. I still remember his face: the shock in his eyes, the huge enthusiastic smile. Most of all, I remember the large stick he was carrying, which he then used to smack someone nearby after he dodged out of the way of my bike.

Josh commented that they must be playing but immediately we were proven wrong. There were several small fights going on with different groups. People had large sticks or pipes. There was a lot of shouting. Some people arrived in a taxi and got out to join the fight. Josh and I watched nervously from the other side of the street while filling our tank with gas.

Neither of us understand what was being shouted. A little shaken, we headed off.

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Driving was kind of scary due to how dark it was. There’s very few other vehicles, and we sometimes drove for multiple kilometers without seeing any light that wasn’t our own. Fortunately, all the other drivers were polite and there were no issues. We kept a speed of 60km most of the time even though we were regularly passed by both cars and bikes.

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