Trip Start Jan 06, 2012
31Trip End Jun 20, 2012
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Arriving in the old city, a jumble of streets criss-crossing in every direction, with all kinds of sounds and smells, we could tell that this was a place that did not slow down
Spread out through the Old City, were thousands of vendors. The first thing to catch your eye was that vendors seemed to group with any others selling the same merchandise. One street would be selling leather, another shoes, the next would be a street full or carpenters, or metal workers, etc...We soon learned that the Vietnamese do not view this arragement as too much competition, but as a way of forcing them to better themselves and their shops. Many of the oldest streets had specific names to them, representing the guilds of workers on that street.
Probably the best part of Hanoi was the streets, and especially the food found on the streets. It was rare to see the working class in Vietnam eating indoors. Eating indoors implied a much higher price. On the street, any kind of food could be found. Soups, meats, tofu, noodles, pancakes, and so many more were available for a fraction of their price at a restaurant. The one dish that stood out above all was Bun Bo Nam Bo
Hanoi also offered its' share of tourist attractions. There was a great army museum, not far from Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and parks. When in the mood for a show, a Water Puppet show was offered five times a day. Crossing through town, you could always stop to relax at the lake in the middle. If you were lucky you would spot the one giant turtle living in the lake.
One of the final gems that Hanoi offered was the Women's museum. Floor by floor you would learn amazing facts about the women of Vietnam. From the hard working vendors on the road selling snacks or flowers, living far from their families and hoping to send at least 10$ home a week.It also addressed the women who led their own garrisons or guerilla groups to victory in the war.
The one piece of home we experienced in
Hanoi was a Passover seder in the middle of our trip. This was organized
by a synagogue in Saigon. We got dressed up and made our way down to a
nice hotel into their dining hall. The meal was simple yet very
enjoyable and we met many great people.