My return to Vietnam in 1997 came twenty-nine years to the week of my first landing at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport. Back then a sign in the terminal had warned: “In case of mortar attack don’t panic, don’t run. Lay on the floor and cover your head with your hands.” Now the walls of Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport were ... Read More »


HANOI IS A GREAT NAME TO DROP AT COCKTAIL PARTIES. I couldn’t resist doing it on my occasional trips back to the United States. I’d just let it slip out casually: I was biking to work in Hanoi the other day and. . . . The reaction was always the same. The conversation would stop and people would cock their ... Read More »


VIETNAM WAS NEVER PART OF THE GAME PLAN. It is one of those places that just crept into my life, like a stranger come to call, and I had no aim of ever making it more than a stop in the road. But Vietnam’s seasons drifted into years, nearly six of them in all, and one day when a bartender ... Read More »