I'm still preparing for the Hanoi trip. I've dragged out my trusty red-and-black backpack and beated out the dust. Picked out a few weathered t-shirts that I will dispose on the trip. I should be doing more important things, like booking the accomodations - at least for the first 2 nights - or booking my Ha Long Bay tour (or should I just check out the local agencies when I get there? I feel like just playing by ear on this.)
Yet, of all the planning I have to do, the priority seems to be what books to bring on the trip!
I have decided to bring Marcel with me. One full week of leisure may be a good opportunity to resume my acquaintance with Sodom & Gomorrah. Who knows - I might be able to finish this volume before the end of the year.
I imagine myself: a lone woman in black t-shirt and jeans, sitting with a cup of tea in a quiet cafe, reading a volume of the Proustian epic. Then I think: "What a poseur!"
What else? Something easy to carry around, but absorbing.
I'm thinking May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude; maybe a few volumes of the novellas published by Melville House: The Devil by Leo Tolstoy, First Love by Ivan Turgenev or My Life by Anton Chekhov. Or should I just bring Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano or G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday?
Will definitely be bringing a moleskine cahier/blank journal. Actually, I would prefer the new range of moleskine soft covers. I tend to stuff things between the pages of my moleskine: pens, brochures or smaller notebooks. A softcover would adhere better to the bulge of my notebook.
I was emailing a colleague about my Hanoi trip. We chatted a little about travel, the spirit of a city, and how I wanted to walk aimlessly through Hanoi. Then she wrote this:
Jan Morris said Trieste is where she learnt to become "usefully indolent". She also said, "if ever you hear them saying, 'What’s become of Morris?', tell them to come to Trieste and look for me loitering with my adjectives along the waterfront".
Hope you'll have a good time loitering with your shadow and your books in Hanoi. Oh I envy you already! I do!!