When the tuk-tuk driver dropped me at the airport in Luang Prabang to fly to Hanoi, I thought he brought me somewhere else. I asked him “Where is the airport?”. “Here”, he said. And indeed, probably this is the smallest airport in the world.
First evening in Hanoi. I stay in the Old Quarter, Hanoi’s historic heart. I take a stroll on the street. Scooters are everywhere, including on the sidewalks. People take dinner and cook on the sidewalks. They seat on small chairs around a small table.
And there are the vendors we all remember from movies: the women with conic hats carrying two bags or bins hanged on a wooden stick suspended on one of their shoulders. They sell bananas, sweets, goods. The next thing I know is a scooter with a man and a woman. The man tried hard to “sell” the girl to me. At the same time the woman with bananas passed me the load, shouting: “photo, photo”. And the man with Vietnamese caps wanted me to try one. At the end I bought bananas.
The streets on the Old Quarter have the trades grouped together: one street for shoes, other for clothes, one for sweets and one sells funeral stones (mostly black with photo of the deceased).
I am lucky to have a guide in Hanoi. Her name is Thao. She doesn’t speak too much English, she only smiles. Thanks for the beautiful painting gift!
Hanoi is a city of arts. Very impressive is the “silk painting” – it’s like an embroidery but much better. Art can be created from small pieces of egg shells or sea shells glued together on frames or vases.
The Vietnamese love photography, especially to take artistic and romantic photos of their girlfriends or wifes. The women wear nice traditional or modern clothes and the photo shoot takes place in parks or around the temples.
Many times you can see women dress in white clothes with conic hats riding bicycles.
Very, very strange to see stores selling Christmas stuff here. I enjoy the warm weather, but I cannot think Christmas.
My mood is strange these days. I got a weird cold. Coughing and my head is like being inside a bag. The doctor prescribed me antibiotics. And I am here in the country with the cheapest beer in the world…
I visited the 1,000 years old Temple of Literature. Dedicated to Confucius, later became a university for mandarins. Other places: The One pillar Pagoda, the Ho chi Min Mausoleum Complex (from outside). Ho Chi Min’s embalmed corpse is in holiday now in Russia, for three months “maintenance” (at the time of this post).
What I tried
- Legs from something. In the menu was “Deep Fried Frog Legs”. But in my plate I found two giant legs with claws at the end. I think they were tortoise legs (too late now).
- Watching street traditional dancing and theatre performances
What I Didn’t Try
- Riding a scooter on the busy streets of Hanoi
- Going to the Water Puppet Theatre
Date: December 2010