Hanoi is also a city that requires faith and a steady slow easy meditative walking pace, especially when crossing the road.
Don’t hesitate when the constant moving traffic does not stop, just keep going with your hand outstretched and pray that the speeding honking scooters and motor bikes will navigate their way smoothly around you. Or then again you could take a Tuk Tuk
Photo of a group of Tuk Tuk’s – guess no one want to walk!!
In the 13th Century Hanoi’s tradesmen organise themselves into 36 Guilds with each guild taking a different street around the palace.
Today, this area is known as the infamous as 36 Street in The Old Quarter selling spices, wood carvings, detailed paintings of resin, duck eggs and pearl, silk, satin, flowers and food. Narrow streets oozing with color and life. People sitting on sidewalks, tiny plastic tables and stools, are brimming over with tourists and locals alike savoring the freshly cooked sizzling and smoking baskets of food straight from the garden which taste and smell delicious.
Photo: Paul in one of the 36 Streets restaurant stall in the Old Quarter near the Night Market.
Note to self.
When I arrived in this city I was reminded of Pondicherry in India except that there are no Cows, Holy Men or Beggars. The city of Hanoi is always moving. Everyone, everywhere is working or eating.
When we sat down at a street stall to eat, several vendor approached me to polish my shoes, which was a bit confusing at first. My mind set is focused on India which requires you to remove shoes before entering any one’s home. But this is Hanoi, my boots are removed, my stocking feet are put into flip flops. It is cold. I am standing under pretty light at a street corner with scooters flying by, wondering what I will do next. Will I run after my boots or accept it and flip flop home?Miraculously, my boots reappear polished like new. It cost 20,000 dong which is the equivalent to twenty cents! They have no coins or beggars in Vietnam.
Then there is the traffic, honestly after nearly getting killed because I stopped walking when crossing the road, I decided the best way to survive was to close my eyes and keep going and pray. It worked. I here to tell the tale.
In the next blog we will go to The Museum of Ethnology and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.