Me and Chairman Mao
  Hanoi: the People.
So much for the flurry of posting I had in mind for my vacation photos. I mean, I may not have mentioned that I was planning a posting flurry, but I totally was. Turns out, this whole "working every day" thing takes more time than I thought. Imagine.

But enough about that. Now, come with me as we take a magical journey to the streets of a distant city called Hanoi to have a look at its people. Or at least, the people who were hanging around Old Town when I happened to walk by. And felt like taking a picture. And said picture came out. Whatever--you get the idea. As a side note, I should point out that if you are in possession of anything that's actually magic--say, a mushroom--this journey will probably be a whole lot more interesting.

Anyway, here we are. At some point, I believe I mentioned that life in Hanoi took place on the sidewalks. Well, as you can see from this picture, it also took place in the streets. Makes it easier to pick up some fresh veggies on the way home, anyway:

I think this shop only sold condensed products. (I could be wrong, what with everything being in Vietnamese ...) Anyway, this is more of a good "life in the sidewalks" example. The store itself was so small and so crowded, they just piled stuff up on the sidewalk:

Here's one thing that definitely changed about me during my time in Asia. Now, when I see something like this, I just think, "Damn, that looks tasty." Pig or goose, you can't go wrong:

How this is just better than carrying something with your hands, I'll never know:

Women like this were everywhere in Hanoi. EVERYWHERE. I felt really sorry for them in the morning, when their baskets were so full that the bamboo pole bent to make a half-circle (if I knew more about math I might toss out the word "parabola" here, but since I was an English major I won't) and they couldn't hardly walk--instead, they just shuffled along the sidewalk. And yet at the same time, I couldn't help but feel some admiration for the Vietnamese men, because you never saw any of them out there carrying that heavy crap around. Smart guys. And you wonder why we lost--I mean, tied--the war:

At some point, I believe I also mentioned that if you wanted to buy something in Hanoi you just had to stand there and someone would bring it along on a bicycle eventually. If you're looking for a nice broom, this is the bike for you:

Drive-through groceries. Nice:

These people were making sugarcane juice. I never had any, and now that I look at this picture, I'm not sure why. Not that it looks good--juice made on the street in a crazy-looking machine with an engine attached to it does not, as a general rule, tempt me--but I probably should have at least tried it, as long as I was there. Oh well. Next time, perhaps:

Someone is spoiled, I think:

Ah, bia hoi. If you remember anything about Vietnam, you must remember bia hoi: fresh beer. (That is, beer with no preservatives that's meant to be drunk right away.) It was so cheap that you could buy 80 cups for $10 dollars. This is cup number one:

This guy was just hanging out while we drank our bia hoi (nos. 3 and 4). He seemed a little shell-shocked. But whatever, I like the picture:

This was my favorite thing. Believe it or not, this guy was the ice cream man. Yes, that cooler is full of ice cream. (Not, as you may have guessed, human organs being rushed to the hospital by a guy with a hand truck.) The best part? The same generic sounding "Ice Cream Man" music was playing (although I'm not sure from where) as he pushed it. Seriously. We heard the music before we saw him, and the first thing I said was, "Does that sound like the ice cream man?"

If I was riding around in a bike in the 95 degree heat (and about a gillion percent humidity) (yes, I said a gillion) (I have no idea how much it is--a lot), I'd be tired, too:

There were a freaky amount of pregnant women in Hanoi. Really. At first I thought we were imagining it, but we weren't--there were a ton of them. Here's one:

If two flower bikes come together, does it make a flower shop? Decide for yourself:

A guy weighing out ... I have no idea what on the shores of Hoan Kiem lake. What were we doing? Why, sitting in a cafe and having a beer of course, what else? We were on vacation, after all:

Another guy just hanging out on the lake shore:

She looks like she loves her job:

I took a picture of this woman while we were sitting around one night ... yes, you guessed it, having a beer. Imagine. She was nice enough to stand completely still for a good four or five seconds so I could get a good photo in the semi-darkness:

So was this guy--also known as "our waiter."

As was she. Such remarkably polite and still people, don't you think? Anyway, I like it, so you have to look at it. And since we left Hanoi the next morning, it seems like a fitting place to end:

Of course, we only left Hanoi for a night while we went to Halong Bay, so I still have more Hanoi pics to share with you as part of my "posting flurry." I'm sure you're thrilled ...

Previously, on my vacation:
- Hanoi: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hanoi: The Streets.

Searching on the internet can be just as frustrating as seaching for people online. Doing a people search can get difficult when you don't have up to date information that you wish you had when trying to find a person.
Hey Jason,
Thank you so much for sharing your pictures! I absolutely enjoy them, and I have to admit...they made me a bit homesick! Anyway, about the sugarcane juice, you absolutely have to try it!!! I love sugarcane juice, and I think you might just really enjoy it. Thanks again.
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