We stayed one week in Hanoi without much sightseeing. We first experienced heavy rains and cockroaches (See our video for more). We were in an AirBnB in a modern building and did not expect cockroaches. The change of housing brought us to the center.
We then discovered a different universe. We were staying in a ditrict composed by 36 streets, each of them is dedicated to a different craft. We were close to Bamboo Street and Scrap merchant Street. Our third floor room allowed us to post and watch the daily life at the bottom of the hotel. It’s interesting to see people arriving in the morning, sitting on small plastic stools for tea (well, we suppose). We saw the mini-markets (one to three people settle on the sidewalk) and the sale of meat, fish or vegetables (all of that directly on the sidewalk). Women who carry their goods with bamboo slings. It is certainly very heavy, very hard and we do not really meet the eyes of these women who wear long clothes, a traditional hat and often a scarf or a mask on the face.
The narrow shops open onto the street and empty part of the sidewalk for the day. The iron curtains fall between 18h and late at night. We also discovered a very particular way of driving: no stop, no give way, no light. A constant: honking and avoiding … This gives a certain fluidity, a kind of ballet of fish that go in all directions without colliding. For us it was a bit terrifying when it comes to crossing a street …. we finally understood that it was necessary to walk diagonally with a regular step … it works, or not!
As far as culture is concerned, Sacha liked the audio-guide of the women’s museum, thanks to which he learned a lot about the traditions of various ethnic groups but also about the role of women during wars. We saw the outside of the war museum, discovering vehicles and equipment that fascinate Sacha.
While walking along the lake, we were able to talk with school children on school trip. Apparently they were asked to speak English to strangers whom they meet. We were bombarded with questions!
We also spent a few days with a mom and her two daughters (couchsurfing). The children were able to share good moments of play and Natasha made a girlfriend, Na, 8 years old, with whom she prepared madeleines and who taught her some Vietnamese words.
If you want to see more pictures, check out our Hanoi Photo gallery on Piwigo