Hanoi has been an important city for 1000 years. The area has been inhabited since 3000 BC. That is almost incomprehensible to me. It's busy and big an modern and old and French and Vietnamese. It smells like any big city with a hint of incense, which is everywhere. There was even incense stuck into the cracks in the sidewalk that you have to be careful to step over.
Hoan Kiem lake is in the centre and is beautiful. There are so many people walking, running, dancing, sitting, exercising and just enjoying life in this space.
There is a specialty that I did not try. Nor will I ever. Snake wine. Literally a snake and a scorpion fermenting in the wine. Maybe it's an aphrodisiac? Not sure it's worth it.
I was doing my best to try all the other local foods but not being a soup person I'd put off Pho. Mistake. It was delicious! What I especially liked is that they give you the soup and a plate of greenery and sprouts and some chilli sauces. I love being able to customize my meal without having to ask for extras!
At the market I was so tempted to buy so much fabric because it was just beautiful. And then I realized that I have no sewing or designing skills. In fact, even my folding skills are probably not up to par. So I just took a photo instead.
For more photos of Hanoi and small adventures Mind the Ramp it.
Today I am thankful for respect. While we were walking down the street we saw some people carrying banners, trying to squeeze through other people, delivery trucks and scooters. Eventually it was clear that they were the first in a funeral procession. As soon as we realized this The Gentleman Caller took off his hat and we stood quietly, waiting for them to go by. Men and women wore white cloths on their heads and were crying (wailing) with such emotion that it made me cry too. This person had clearly been loved. The thing is they were trying to turn the corner to get the casket into a van and none of the traffic would stop for them. People kept whizzing by like they were the most important people in the world. I can't imagine how emotionally difficult it must have been to be ignored in the time when they most needed help. All I could do was bow my head and send up a small prayer for the family... and be proud/grateful that the GC is so automatically respectful in that way.