The right way to explore Hanoi is to take a walk across its streets, and the right place to stay is the Little Hanoi Hostel. The receptionists greet guests with a smile and warmth and the rooms are clean and spacious.
I started for the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university, with a street map in hand. It seemed like the right place to begin an adventure, especially for an aspiring writer.
This temple was built in 1070 AD in honour of Confucius. The names of scholars who passed the rigorous royal examinations are immortalised on 116 statues of carved blue stone turtles. The king himself took part in conducting these examinations. The Vietnamese honour talent and hard work. That can never be a bad thing.
I saw an old man standing behind his desk and drawing Vietnamese characters on a sheet of paper. He had small hands, a slim figure and pants tied way above his waist. He was devoted to his art. Enjoying the creative process. I hope to grow old like him. Still creating. Still enjoying it.