Phillip Cabrera's Blog

March 14, 2011

My 15 minutes of fame are up

It’s all over. We finally made it back to civilization in Hanoi. We just might have to stay here for a couple days longer than expected. We were scheduled to have our layover from Hanoi to Los Angeles in Tokyo, but Narita Airport in Tokyo has been closed down. Our flight might be rerouted.

A familiar sensation has overcome me with the urge to explore Hanoi. I have freedom to do whatever I want to. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced this sensation before when I traveled solo. I began to get happy because when we came to our hotel in Hanoi,  I saw many backpackers – my kind of people. They traveled as couples or in groups. There were also many solo travelers.  As I passed by each one on the streets, I tried to make eye contact and say hello. Having been in their shoes before, I like to think that a smile in a foreign city can go a long way.

In this city, I am absolutely no one. I am just another tourist with a weight problem. I came across a few shopkeepers who smiled and rubbed my stomach, but that occurred few and far between compared to in the rural provinces. It’s time for a reality check.

This trip is coming to an end. We’re torn because we don’t know if we’re going to be going home as scheduled. We may even end up staying out here longer than expected after we get return to Hanoi from Halong Bay where we’re going to tomorrow. I am doing nothing more than appreciating what I have come away with from this trip.

To be able to bring smiles to kids in the rural provinces with Project Vietnam Foundation (PVNF) as one of the best feelings I’ve ever had and will surely be hard to repeat. Not many people will be able to share the experiences I gained with PVNF, as well as the happiness that I brought to Vietnamese people. They will more than likely not see someone like me in their lives again. That’s what made this trip worth it.

It’s time to be a tourist. I am going to see what Hanoi has to offer for the day. Then we’re off to Halong Bay.