The days flow by in a daze of heat and gastronomic delight. To add to my comfort level I moved into a room with a view.
Unfortunately it’s so hot I never sit out there. So I miss seeing the great view of Bat Su with all the patrons of the small cafés sitting on their wee stools. I see them as I stroll in and out of the hotel several times a day, however. I seem to have fallen into a routine of mornings out, afternoons (the hottest part of the day) in and evenings out again. Of course this does coincide with meal times.
On one of my morning strolls I spotted a rare piece of Hanoi graffiti in an alley. I think a few of the residents were surprised to see me photographing it, as they might see it as counter revolutionary.
But there are many stranger sights to see while wandering the streets….
I think the fellow reading the paper was quite startled to see the encroachment of wildlife in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. I’m starting to get a sense of some of the main streets in the Old Quarter and even managing to keep the name changes straight. There are many little side streets still to explore though.
I did go on a longer motorcycle ride to my first job interview, which introduced me to more of the city. We whizzed along, me clutching my document folder under my arm, cutting through a large parking lot, going against traffic to make a turn. A 15 min. ride for under $3. Where else can you get such a cheap thrill? The interview went well but what with the economic downturn and the threat of swine flu I was told that enrollment in the school was down. So… no promises, but I may get some part-time work there. It might take awhile to save up for this beauty 1953 Citroen I have my eye on. If Sue can have her ’64 Pontiac should I not have a ’53 something? The first of these I saw parked on a street in the Old Quarter in front of a jewelry store. They are so low-slung and cool looking.
Just down the street I spotted a more common form of transport:
I think the charcoal is used in many of the street side cookers. Just after I saw this bike I did see a cooker spewing smoke out onto the street. Besides the heat the smoke and exhaust fumes contribute to my not wanting to walk the streets all day. Otherwise I’d be out there all the time as it’s so fascinating. The kids are great. I see them piled onto scooters with their folks, sitting down for dinner outside their homes checking out what’s going on with the mannequins.
On the weekends there’s a large street market that goes on for blocks, probably a couple of kilometers long. Most of the the stalls sell clothing and accessories along with plastic knick-knacks, bootleg CDs and DVDS ad and a few souvenir items.
It’s nice strolling in the night with a bit of a breeze to help cool things off. I checked out the T-shirts, looking for interesting mis-spellings, took a gander at the fake Gucci bags and watched the locals. The scene is so vibrant it’s hard to take in prolonged doses but I’m gradually acclimatizing. I wouldn’t mind smelling some fresh Pender Island air but at some time I’m sure I’ll get into the countryside. In the meantime I’ll keep exploring Hanoi, spiraling outwards from the Old Quarter, looking for new food delights, new neighborhoods and visit the many museums and galleries.