By 5 a.m., I couldn't take it anymore. The “quiet hallway” turned out to be one of the main corridors that led through security. It just happened to be closed when I first had seen it. But now it was open, and there was a constant chatter of over-caffinated travelers, dragging their luggage across the floor.
At last we arrived in Hanoi. This was to be Katie's final destination in Vietnam, and the beginning of my solo overland trip to Beijing. We stayed in the Old Quarter, a small section in the middle of the city. The Lonely Planet calls traffic in the Old Quarter “oppressive,” and I couldn't agree more. Simply walking across the street required absolute concentration and patience to avoid the swarms of motorcycles. But, as in every other Vietnamese city we had visited, Hanoi delighted the senses.
The sound of suitcases rolling past my head woke me. My flight had landed in Melbourne, Australia in the middle of the night. After clearing customs, I walked outside to get my bearings, then I quickly scampered back into the airport. I had flashbacks of my night in the airport in Miami, which I wrote about in 1000 Days Between. Unlike in Miami, I found a few other backpackers, sleeping in a quiet hallway. I blew up my air mattress, crawled into my sleep sheet and joined the others in their quiet slumber.