The Loser

Like a moth to a flame, the red neon sign above the small stairway drew me up to the second-floor balcony above a busy Hanoi street corner and to the home of The Loser.

“Everyone feels like a loser once in a while” the young bar owner explained as he lit another cigarette off the dying butt of the last smoke. Only 26 years old and running his first business he caters to young Vietnamese looking for a craft cocktail from the start of a fading twilight until well into the early morning.

Like many here, youth and opportunity are on their side. With a booming economy and an average national age of only 31, they are positioned to build a life and economy that will undoubtedly continue to thrive.

For now, I’m happy to sit here and enjoy the conversation that ranges from the length of his patron’s skirts to the US mid-term elections, which he seems fairly knowledgeable about from 7,000 miles away.

A smoke and a drink connected us this evening, my last here in Viet Nam. I’ve seen lots of changes here over the last 15 years. Communism and Capitalism continue to work in certain harmony from this elevated viewpoint at a small tabletop overlooking an ancient city at the edge of unlimited possibility.