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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shopping in the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

After our overnight cruise in Halong Bay, we traveled back to Hanoi, and inevitably did what women do.  We went shopping.  duh.

Have I mentioned how hot it was?

It was hot.

Have I mentioned how unbarringly excruciatingly, tortuously, human-beings-should-not-be-subjected-to such-conditions-ly, insanely, rashes-appeared-where-no-rashes-should-ever-be-ly, hot it was?

Ya, it was that hot!

A quote from Livy about the heat,
It was hot. Wow was it hot.  It was very hot.  Hotty hot.  So hot that it was kinda funny.  But not really.  I was really hot.
Liv is a woman of few words.  Or at least few adjective.

I'm from the desert people. I know hot.  today it's about 110 in the shade at my house. But the 90% humidity 24/7 of Vietnam that we were subjected too was a whole different beast.  People, seriously, that was crazy ridiculous hot.
To whom ever recommended Frogg Toggs on Facebook... you are a goddess among women!
To my husband who tucked Gold Bond in our suitcase last minute, thank you thank you thank you!  As I thought, it did turn into a paste almost immediately, but somehow it still offered relief to the aforementioned rashes in unmentionable places.
To the angles that seemed to be continually

I affectionately (or not?  Let me live in my bubble o' denial, people!) became known as "the sweat-er" in our group.  The Vietnamese were constantly concerned for my well being.  It was that bad. Offering me a seat and a hot cup of tea.  Apparently feeling hot on the inside cools one off on the outside.  Ummmmmm... well that's how it was explained to me anyhow.  I'm not sure my body completely grasped the whole concept though.

Regardless, we shopped.
And we shopped.
And we sweat!  A lot!
And we shopped some more.

Scenes from Hanoi, shopping in the Old Quarter.
I fell in love with this young lady on the back of the bike with the red lipstick and short shorts. Litterally.  Figuratively. Yes all that!
Who woulda thunk that a pizza joint would be in the Old Quarter.  Seems to be quite popular!  
Just in case anyone reading is interested in staying in one of many youth hostels. I see it has internet!  There was a youth hostel just a couple blocks from this one that advertised, Free internet and beer.  $5 a night.  Tempting!
I watched this grandma fuss of her grandson (I assume) for about 5 minutes as he picked out a toy from the toy store.  See?  Something never change not matter where you are!
Cycle repair shop.  Just in case. 
Eggs anyone? 
Dawn is knee deep in some serious negotiations here.  I'm pretty sure she's losing.  Hard to negotiate when the prices were so cheap to begin with. 
We weren't the only ones hot.  There is a lot of this just sitting around that happens in the Old Quarter.  The little stools were everywhere we looked in Vietnam. 
Most all of the street vendors were women.  It was rare to see a man peddling his good street side.  with the exception of cigarette lighter.  They were always sold by men like the ones below.  My favorite part of this pic is the man lounging on the right.  Pretty common site. 
I think the lady below is selling lychee fruit.  there are reds bags underneath for buyers and if you look closely you'll see the scale she uses to weigh out the fruit. 
Liv shopping for pants. She has several pairs not. They were pretty awesome even in hot weather. 
I think this sales lady has mangosteens in the front (my new favorite fruit!  Anyone?) and some type of nut, that looked like a chestnut in the back.  Prepacked and ready to go in the bags if you don't have time to wait too! 
Anyone need a new pair of shoes?  She has a couple pair to choose from!
The twins off to the next store.  Sidewalks are for parking bikes rather than walking.  Street are for walking.  Just be careful of the bikes!
My favorite store below.  I have no idea what it was actually selling except that it probably had anything and everything you were looking for.  I was kinda scared that I'd never come out if I ever went in. 
I took this pic so y'all could see the electric lines. Somehow it all seems to work!
The twins taking a break at little coffee shop.  
Cause that's so what we needed in that heat... a cup of coffee. 
Brought to you by the letter H (for hot of course) and "the sweat-er"


  1. If I may ask (and sorry if you've already covered this elsewhere), what did you think of the Vietnamese? And what did they seem to think of Americans? I ask because I was so pleasantly surprised that my Cold War views of the Chinese was completely, utterly wrong. I've also read that Vietnamese are very friendly, easy-going people.

    Very nice photos. I'm also glad you mentioned the Frogg Toggs; I also sweat a lot, and it's nice to know about clothes that are more appropriate for we (ahem) semi-aquatic people.

    1. I've been blessed to travel both to China and Vietnam so I tend to compare the two cultures although I'm FAR from well traveled in these countries or knowledgable of their culture. But in my experiences thus far I found the Vietnamese incredibly welcoming and nice and friendly. smiles were common. More so than China. On our first visit in VN, we were expecting some residual feelings from the Vietnam War (or the American War as we heard them call it) but found none at all. It was explained that the Vietnamese considered the American just the most recent in a long line of folks that tried to dictate they future. And they view this long line of invasions as a reminder that they are a strong and determined people, rather than with spite for these past offenses and invaders. and I agree. they are strong. and resilient. And survivors. And doing it all with a smile seemingly. China on the other hand we found a bit cold and stand off ish. both countries had quite a bit of political doctrine being thrown about and a lot of national pride. But in China it came off quite a bit like This is why what we're the best. And not like that in Vietnam where they seemed to more readily welcome foreigners and take advantage of all that they offered. ---Then again, this is just my experience.

  2. I see the twins have several packages. What was there for tourists to buy and what types of things did you bring home? ~Lindy

    1. Lots of fun stuff! Coffee. Coffee cups. A painting. Silk lots of stuff like scarves, table runners, purses and Ao Dai's, (tradtional VN outfits) for my girls. souvenir t-shirts. candy. That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

  3. Those overhead wires just BLEW MY MIND!!!

  4. Oh I love all your pictures of HLB, and Hanoi. You are so observant, you can feel, and see life breathing through these beautiful colorful images. The lovely lady with red lipstick is a real classic one. Hopefully next time you will be able to stay longer, to visit other beautiful parts of VN, there are so many spectacular places to see, and lots of good food, fun shopping without spending a fortune.


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