guys, i am warning you .... please don't crucify me if the typing, punctuation and other niceties go for a complete toss in this post. i am at BANGKOK AIRPORT, IN A BIZ LOUNGE WHERE THE COMPUTERS SEEM TO HAVE MINDS OF THEIR OWN. THE CAPS LOCK STAYS ON FOREVER, OR WEIRD STUFF STARTS TO HAPPEN IN AN ARBIT WAY. BUT THE TEMPTATION TO CONNECT IN THIS SPACE WAS SO OVERPOWERING, I TOOK IT FOR GRANTED YOU'D UNDERSTAND AND OVERLOOK. YOU DO AND WILL - RIGHT???
how unimportant news from and about india really is was driven home strongly on this trip. tv channels barely carry a 20 seconds clip every third day, and that too if the story has something to do with economic developments in this region or involves a bomb blast in KASHMIR. SINCE ENGLISH IS BARELY SPOKEN IN VIETNAM, THE FLIMSY local TABLOID ONE SEES IS DEVOTED TO EARTH SHAKING NEWS ABOUT THE NUMBER OF NEW 'TET' FLOWER MARKETS SET UP in the city TO ACCOMMODATE THE DEMAND FOR PEACH TREES OVER THE NEW YEAR (14th feb). it is impossible to make oneself understood even via sign lingo, since their signs seem to be very different from the rest of the world's. khair, i am not complaining - just feeling out of the loop and slightly confused. i did watch a fleeting news item which showed srk arriving at the mumbai airport and referring to the INDIAN constitution, with kaajol and karan walking away grimly and briskly to avoid newswallas. srk did ADD something about every word of his getting 'misconstrued'. HELLO! since when??? srk is a genius with his bon mots and immensely articulate AT ALL TIMES. he hasn't had any problems earlier while delivering off the cuff dialogues and dishing out quotes galore. ab kya ho gaya QUOTE- MACHINE KO ? IRONY! while i am attempting to key this in, there is a group of talkative PAKISTANI GUYS CLOSE BY - THE 'GOOD NEIGHBOURS' SRK WAS TALKING ABOUT. I AM SORELY TEMPTED TO ASK THEM WHAT THEY THINK IS THE REAL ISSUE HERE? is it the ipl imbroglio involving pakistani players or something else? but things in BANGKOK ARE TENSE ENOUGH. WHY ADD TO THE HEAT?
would i recommend VIETNAM AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION? without hesitation! there is nothing particularly pretty about HANOI ( and i certainly did not want to go into those scarey war time tunnels), but the people are warm, friendly, welcoming and the food's terrific. I THREW AWAY THE ANTI BIOTICS I HAD BEEN PRESCRIBED FOR A SINUS ATTACK AND CONCENTRATED ON PHO BO - THE TRADITIONAL BEEF BROTH WITH NOODLES. I SWEAR IT FIXED MY COLD AND CONGESTION. I slurped it up AT B'FAST TOO, AND IT KEPT ME GOING LIKE NOTHING ELSE COULD HAVE.
AAAH - I HAVE KEPT THE BEST FOR LAST - HALONG BAY! it is like being a part of 'Avatar' - MYSTERIOUS, MISTY,mystic ISLANDS - HUNDREDS OF THEM, entice you to explore the emerald green waters of the bay . WE TOOK A LANGUID CRUISE ON THE REPLICA OF AN OLD STEAMSHIP - 'EMERAUDE'. THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE was ETHEREAL AND DREAMLIKE. AT NIGHT, THE CAPTAIN SCREENED 'INDO-CHINE', THE 1993 MOVIE starring CATHERINE DENEUVE WHICH I BELIEVE HAD WON THE OSCAR IN THE BEST FOREIGN FILM CATEGORY. IT WAS SHOT IN AND AROUND HALONG BAY. AN EERIE LINE IN THE FILM GOES, " Those who get into the labyrinth of these islands are never seen alive again." WELL..... HERE I AM. LIVING PROOF! which only goes to underline something we OFTEN forget - a movie is just a movie. watch and forget!! that's what i said to the owner of one of the most comprehensive dvd stores i have ever been to. this was in the old quarter of hanoi, and we spent nearly two hours talking movies with thien. from rohmer to goddard to kurosawa, he had them all!! and we nearly bought them all!!
a few hours from now, i'll be back in aamchi mumbai. work awaits - aaaaargh. lots of it - double aaaaargh. but memories of my last supper in hanoi will linger. it was at BOBBY CHINN'S SUPER TRENDY RESTAURANT . BOBBY IS HALF VIETNAMESE AND HALF EGYPTIAN - A LEGENDARY CHEF OFTEN CALLED THE ENFANT TERRIBLE OF WORLD CUISINE. HE LOOKS AMAZING AND COOKS AMAZING.AUR KYA MANGTA???