When people describe the “poetic beauty” of Hà Nội, they are usually referring to autumn, when the city is at its beautiful best (weather-wise and otherwise). — Photo vnexpress.net
When people describe the “poetic beauty” of Hà Nội, they are usually referring to autumn, when the city is at its beautiful best (weather-wise and otherwise). To this, there are many that will add: At its fragrant best, too. The fragrance is often the subject of romantic, wistful nostalgia among Hanoians who’ve had to live far away from the city for a long time.
There is no secret to the olfactory wonder.
The hoa sữa (Blackboard Tree) tree, regarded as a Hà Nội icon, blooms in autumn and its heady fragrance is a season marker. However, not everyone is singing its praises anymore. With many streets in the capital city boasting a profusion of hoa sữa trees that have bloomed in spectacular profusion this year, there are those who are thrilled, and there are those others are nurturing murderous thoughts about what they would like to do those trees.
Previously, this flower was limited to some streets, and people, couples in particular, flocked to Quang Trung and Nguyễn Du streets. Now that they are blooming all over the city, many residents find the fragrance, strongest in the night, unbearable. They say they are having to close windows in the night, and apply balm to their noses because the smell doesn’t allow them to sleep.
For them, the fragrance is no longer heady, it is a headache. — VNS