Thursday, October 18, 2007

HANOI | Loitering with My Shadow and My Books

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!!


Anonymous said...

Packing clothes and stuff for a trip is so easy for me. That takes me no time but when it comes to choosing the perfect books to take - oh man.. that can take days!
I have a feeling you're going to enjoy many hours sipping tea and reading. How wonderful.

darkorpheus said...

Thanks! I totally intend to just chill, walk, sit and read. Recharge.

I'm with you on packing! The clothes and "necessities" - easy-peasy.

But when it comes to the right kind of book, with the right notebook - I keep taking out books, putting them back in etc. I'm never really sure - sometimes I would pick up a book minutes before I dash out of the door for the airport - and that's what I read on the plane.

LK said...

Moleskine rules!

You have fun.

Sharon said...

Have a safe trip and a great time!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having fun planning your trip or at least the reading for your trip! Those softcover Moleskines look nice but I wonder if they are as durable as the hardcovers?

Anonymous said...

I'm taking account of the Russian Challenge as well, which will then have started when I'm still in Asia. I probably won't bring the heavy chunkster but like The Cossacks, Chekov stories and First Love.

Of Human Bondage is in at least for the outbound flight down to Kuala Lumpur.

Ha! I usually bring my weathered t shirts and dispose them as well. Great minds think alike! :)

Ana S. said...

Have a wonderful time, and do take "The Man Who Was Thursday". I look forward to reading your thoughts on that one.

chrisa511 said...

Have a great trip DO! Tea and books sounds perfect :) I love Moleskines and hadn't heard of the softcovers! They look great!

darkorpheus said...

LK Thanks! Moleskine fiends are all over, I see. Hee.

Ex Libris Thanks, Sharon. Will be back in time for your challenge. Actually, i might start early on the challenge.

stefanie I'm flying blind with the Hanoi trip. More or less going to just show up and see what I want to do each day.

I'm currently using the moleskine 18 months diary that has the softcover - it's more malleable than the stiff-board notebooks - so if you're like me who stuff things between your moleskine, the softcover + elastic band helps keep the stuff in better.

But with the softcover - the pages tear off more easily. So softcovers are not meant for daily wear-and-tear.

Matt I actually have an old mass paperback of "Of Human Bondage" - but it felt too thick to bring on the trip.

Travel - the art of lightening your burden. It sounds so Zen. :)

Nymeth Thanks. I think I shall put down Chesterton as the 2nd book to bring.

Chris Thanks - you're still on for NaNoWriMo, yes?

The website says the moleskine softcovers are available on Amazon UK - so I'm guessing they are released in Europe first - then USA, then Asia. Oh well.