In the summer of 2012, I spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam with a group of Indiana University telecom students. The focus of the trip was filmmaking, but I tried to write as much as I could. I recently polished up an excerpt to use as a writing sample and liked it enough to share.
It’s just past 6am, and I’m enjoying my first morning in Hanoi. I’ve already been up for four hours filming a night market and it’s time for breakfast. I head back to the heart of the city and come across a small collection of chairs along the side of a busy road, where an older woman sits with several pots and thermoses of tea and coffee. Sipping strong green tea and looking out at Hoan Kiem Lake, I try to take in everything I’ve experienced in my first few hours in the city.
As I finish the tea and begin to walk back to my hotel, I remember hearing about a small market nearby. I veer off to search for it and come across another woman with another roadside collection of chairs. She’s selling pho, one of my favorite dishes in the world, and I decide to stop. Taking a seat on a plastic chair maybe eight inches off the ground, I order a bowl and prepare to eat.