The music is thumping, the dance floor is packed… fly boys and girls gyrate skilfully to the hip hop beats from the imported DJ’s in the corner.
My mouth hits the floor. Two minutes ago I was sharing a motorbike with 2 of my friends, dodging the holes in the roads and precisely avoiding the melee of bikes, taxis and buses. The sole of my right high heel has melted through from having my foot on the muffler. And now, here on the 20th floor of the Sofitel plaza, we have found a modern utopia overlooking the antiquated city of Hanoi, and now we are in a modern, polished, 4 star hotel. We could be anywhere in the world right now.
I struggle my way to the bar but my hips can’t help but sway to the music. I notice more than one man noticing me. For once I am dressed for the night with a designer dress and push up to enhance what my momma gave me.
At the bar I wait patiently. Everyone seems to be getting served, and it’s a western bar, right? Wrong. 10 minutes passes. Getting agitated now. I call out to the girl behind the bar and order a cocktail. Mojito. With berries.
Another 10 minutes go by. I order again, from another bartender. He asks me to pay in advance, and I tell him I won’t pay until I have my drink.
A Britney spears song comes on, mixed up with some ghetto gangster and my attention is taken from the bar and I join my friends for a dance. Some other women are dancing around, my friend is busting out some serious moves that involve her being given a clear berth while she impresses.
Eventually I find my way back to the bar. I ask for the drink… again, and it magically appears. A purplish concoction with mint leaves floating around. This is most expensive and weakest drink in the history of Hanoi. Must remember to write a bad review.
I take my drink and try to find some air. All the bars here get hot and smokey to the point that breathing becomes difficult. The view from the 20th floor is worth withstanding the average drinks. 180 degree views over a stunning lake, the full moon high in the sky and nary a backpacker in sight.
I find a comfortable arm chair and sit back, taking in the sights. This city can be so romantic at times it’s almost like nothing bad ever happens here.
I barely notice the young man who comes and sits next to me. Fine-looking, in the way only a man in his early 20’s can be. All the innocence of his age mixed with the experience of a world traveller. A well cut suit, pressed shirt and no tie. Top button open to reveal a hair free chest. He speaks with a heavy French accent which makes him sound more sophisticated than he probably is. He is very charming. They always are.