Touched by a starfish. Hanoi, Vietnam

January 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm 3 comments

When we arrived in Vietnam I promised myself that I woudln’t blog about motorbikes or traffic or fumes or Top Gear. I promised myself that ours would be the only travel blog in the world that covered Vietnam without any anecdotes about the man who managed to fit a washing machine on the back of his motorbike or the bicycle parked on the side of the road that had hundreds of goldfish in plastic bags piled up on the back. It’s so cliché that it’s practically mandatory at this stage, I thought.

So I have been sitting on a stoop in Hue for nearly an hour now, trying desperately to find something to say about Hanoi that doesn’t involve motorbikes or bicycles or washing machines but I can’t. The problem you see, is that Hanoi is bikes. It’s crumbling French villas, street canteens with red and blue plastic seats, old men with opium pipes wasting away an afternoon, smiling locals in conical hats trying to force pineapple on you and waving military officers.

More than all of that though, Hanoi is bikes – crazy, honking bikes piled high with passengers. In a city of 7 million people there are 3 million bikes. Taking into account the old, infirm and still teething and the fact that every bike holds an average of three people, one dog, six chickens and 4 microwave ovens, it’s a wonder that Hanoi has enough people to keep all of those wheels moving.

When we were in Japan we saw an ad by the Vietnamese tourism board that said “Vietnam, the land of a thousand smiles, will touch you in ways you have never been touched before.” And then there was a picture of a starfish. The fiddling starfish unfortunately seems to have been an empty promise but Vietnam has definately penetrated us in some wonderful ways.

More pictures from Hanoi are available in the gallery

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Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , , , .

Hong Kong merrily on high Caught between a monkey and a snake. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. James Spencer  |  January 7, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Loving the blog guys, looks like you’re having a really fascinating time! Hellos from Ireland and happy travels 😀

    ps. Did ya get the 5D MK II yet Gary? 🙂

    Reply
    • 2. yearlongbreakup  |  January 8, 2010 at 3:10 am

      Hey James. Glad you are enjoying the blog. Yeah i did get the 5d mark II. I bought it in Hong Kong. I’m loving it.
      Got a reasonably good deal. Got it body only with an international warranty for around 1600 euro. Defo cheaper than home.

      Reply
      • 3. James Spencer  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm

        much feckin cheaper! Ya wouldn’t even get a 7D here for that! DAMN YOU!!!! 😀

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