A beloved Hanoi…
I haven’t drafted even an article about Hanoi although I was born and grown up there for 16 years. Maybe the people and scenery are so familiar and close to me that I don’t know what to talk about it. It makes no sense because only by sitting down on a bench nearby Ho Guom, meditatingly seeing stream of hasty people passing by, some old people doing exercises or kids hand in hand with parents going round and round can you feel the unique beauty of Hanoi, which is nowhere else to see.
The spring is on the way to take the place of Mr. Winter, however, the wind still dominates and goes through each lane and street. Hanoi in my mind has made changes and extremely differs from its old time. Although Hanoi is wearing a new coat, it still keeps its traditional and cultural exquisiteness.
I was born in Hanoi 16 years ago; it is not long but long enough to feel the whole attractiveness of Hanoi in a very strange way. When I was four I was taken to Ho Guom for the first time, my grandpa rode me on an old blue bike going round the lake, we also walked and enjoyed the view. He told me the legend of Ho Guom, The Huc Bridge, and Ngoc Son temple. It was the very first time I was heard such an excited story. Ho Guom remained inside me the hard-to-describe emotion through a short trip. Since then, it becomes the habit of mine that visiting Ho Guom in free time, seeking for a blank bench, taking a far view and feeling soaring. How wordless the mood was!
However, Ho Guom is not the only popular beauty spot in Hanoi. Keeping the curiosity and eagerness, you can find other eye-catching features hidden in this city. Especially saying, Hanoi carries distinctive tones. Each tone is combined to make a symphony of colors and atmosphere from various points of view. From “the Old Quarter” written in Thach Lam’s notes mentioning each street corner with its culture, Dong Xuan Market, to Hang Ngang, Hang Dao street, etc. From the traditional cuisine like Pho Thin, Pho Thinh, vermicelli and shellfish soup in West Lake, green rice flakes in Vong Village, etc. to plentiful forms of art such as water puppet, drama, opera, etc. This mixture portraits a simple loveliness making Hanoi differ from other places in the whole country. Although modern streets and sky-high buildings have changed the face of city but the image of thousands years of culture city is still bashfully hidden somewhere in each yellow-leaf tree line. Prideful attractiveness of an ancient city in the old time is still reflected in the eyes of Hanoians and in the small house in Old quarter. The dawn and twilight are the great time to visit Ho Guom, only by sitting at a bench, enjoying the ancient tortoise tower, the buildings looming behind flickering willow tree or simply close your eyes and take a deep breath, you can feel your soul soaring.
This view reminds me of lyrics in Nguyen Duc Cuong’s song “Passionate Hanoi”: “Going down the street in the dawn, passing by the park… seeing simply things, people smiling and saying hello to a new day, old people practicing taichi. We just feel the peace in mind and here is my beloved Hanoi.”