It’s a tradition here in Hanoi I think to socialize when walking in my neighborhood. Walking to a breakfast place results in many many Xin Chao to me, waves, hellos. I went to Tom for breakfast and next door is a second hand shop with lots of nice clothing. The owner was sitting out front enjoying the morning. Time to talk. We discuss Tet holidays, Hanoi, COVID-19, food and coffee. Here in Hanoi we’ve gone about 21 days with no community infections. The country still has a hotspot that with the usual management skill Vietnam has controlled. Restaurants are all open. Then there’s coffee.
Coffee here is the big social, discussion, and neighborhood thing. I just usually find a local place and order up ca phe sua da which is here the Hanoi flavor of iced coffee with milk. Very sweet and powerful. Made to socialize with. The owners smile and make sure I have what I need. Cafe Goc has been here awhile. Coffee has been here awhile too. It’s one of or perhaps now the highest export and Vietnam can grow both arabica and robusta beans. The art of the service too marks Vietnam. Local houses have many lower tables and seats and they spread outside. It’s a thing here to eat, drink and socialize outdoors in the morning and evenings. In the evenings we shift from morning coffee to evening beer. The beer is served ice cold and often with a glass and ice cubes. The cost for both coffee and beer is 15k VND. That’s less than $1 USD.
So I sit and decide to write. The coffee fuels the words. The words fuel the thoughts. And I get lazy.
There’s never a rush in coffee time in Vietnam. There’s time to sit and relate. Reflect and consider. Or do none of those things. Retirement means doing nothing. And I practice the art and science each day.
And I enjoy the morning coffee and the buzz of discussion in Vietnamese. Then there’s the coffee buzz. A WhatsApp message. It’s a day spent in pursuit of nothing.
The coffee house propels forward but I stay the same. Me and coffee. And a morning.
Then out the open door it’s Hanoi. I can hear motorbikes and small stores and food stalls. An atm machine across the street. I can’t move. The Goc Cafe has me until I’m done.