HanoiOctober 15, 2015 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C
We returned to the Old Quarter to finish the shopping we did not complete yesterday. Whilst we were not buying anything that should have taken more than one day to purchase, there were several hurdles to waylay even the most determined shopper.
As described in the previous post, haggling turns transactions into a lengthy game of smiles and frowns and the humid temperature claws at your stamina. The pavements are used as parking bays for the city’s thousands of scooters and elsewhere an obstacle course of plastic dining furniture, fruit sellers, scurrying pregnant dogs and small children amongst broken paving and general detritus hinders movement and pushes pedestrians into the road, already crowded with cruising taxis, beeping scooters, enterprising cyclos and silent bicycles. Still any feelings of frustration sit within a sensory smorgasbord. The thick aroma of barbequing meat mixing with the citrus scent of fruit, the colourful displays of goods lit up by neon colours at night and the horns of scooters echoing with the sing-song invites to dine, take a massage or ride a cyclo.
A pastime of ours, particularly when travelling, is to ‘people watch’, and one of our favourite restaurants, with its balcony overlooking a crossroads in the Old Quarter, grants us perfect opportunity for this. One thing we have particularly noticed is that locals actively engage in ‘picking and spitting’. Often we will watch both men and women go almost knuckle-deep in a bid to clean out their nasal passages whilst hearing the loud thick hawk of mucus pulled from throats to be spat out onto the street. Social suicide back home, a national sport in this part of the world.Read more