I have arrived in Hanoi, and have been settling in for the past four days.
It has been an interesting, exciting and un-stressful thus far.
Primarily it’s been amazing to see Sibyl. It’s been lovely getting used to her again, some things fall back into place instantly and some things we both need reminding of.
There are so many distinctive things which make Hanoi a wonderful place to visit.
- Countless thousands of motorbikes/scooters, many of which are xe ôm‘s which literally translates ‘motorbike hug’.
- Noodles are an essential meal here, funnily it seems the power lines have been influenced by their mị phố.
- The Vietnamese here are interesting. In shops and other services, they tend to take their time, common courtesy seems to be irrelevant, P’s & Q’s are out the window. However don’t get the impression that these are hostile savages; this lack of manners is replaced by genuine conversation, jest and generosity. I’m going to go ahead and say the ‘c.g.t.a.l.e.d.c.c.’ (‘classic going to a less economically developed country cliché) thing: ‘these people have so little, but they are so happy.’ I’d like to see how happy they would be if I gave them a Big Mac, Sky+ and an Xbox 360, not very I suspect.
- The army are always around. If anything is out of place I get the impression that they would not hesitate to shoot your face.
- It’s huuumid. It’s not always sunny but always sticky. However God has blessed us with the beauty of air-conditioning in many places.
- People actually do wear those funny hats, I’m told that they actually have a function – to keep the rain and the sun off. The fact that they attract tourists has nothing to so with why they wear them.
Here’s some more photos which hopefully capture the characteristics of Vietnam, most of them were taken by Sibs.