Dear D_,

I think you might like this place, it has a certain feeling about it — a tipping quality, as if it is trying to remember who it wanted to be. (But then, one always seems to travel with a mirror.) Happily, Hanoi is replete with puzzles and riddles.

Puzzle One: Are the Vietnamese coming to get us? (And what exactly would a Communist dove symbolise?)

Puzzle Two: What is the soldier wearing? (Constant Gardener is sure it’s an Argyle vest. And why on earth is he holding one of those garden torches?)

Puzzle Three: Just what is it about Hanoians and the Burberry plaid?

Puzzle Four: But is it safe? (Every power pole looks like this.)

Puzzle Five: Why do lovers love the rain? (A: Because each raindrop helps keep the rest of the world away, or alternatively*)

(*”I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day / When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May / I guess you’d say / What can make me feel this way?…”)

Greetings to the clan,
and all my love,