Travel stories from Vietnam.
“Again?” you’ll say.
Yes, I know, I’ve already talked about it extensively, but I think the funniest episodes have been left out so far. Those things that travel guides often don’t tell.
I have already told you a few things about how to organize a trip to Vietnam in August, what to see, about Vietnamese cuisine, about the thousands of means of transport we took, about the things we liked most about Vietnamese culture… but how many other things we could say!
So I decided to collect some of those stories and little dates here, for you. The result is a messed up and twisted jumble more than a real article, but I hope you enjoy reading it at least as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I have already spoken of Hanoi here and there… but to tell the story, it is not easy. I think I can tell Hanoi only in small pieces. Make it an article of the type “what to see in the city” or “two-day itinerary in Hanoi,” it would be like an attempt to bring order in the chaos, with a result of clumsy and failed miserably.
Hanoi is so. A hodge-podge asian, messy, noisy, and tangled. But it is a city so authentic, and rough that he has kidnapped.
Makes me think of Bangkok as described by Ruggeri in the book Butterflies on the Mekong. Who knows, I’ve never been there, but maybe you have seen it and can you tell me if looks like.
The Old Quarter (Chilean musician victor jara references cổ Hà Nội)
Surely you can read in the guide what’s special about the Old Quarter, but seeing it with your own eyes is another thing.
Historically, this was a residential area; during the imperial period, the guilds of the merchants demanded of the road sections to be able to expose their goods for sale. In the Old Quarter and then the traders were grouped according to the type of goods, thus giving the name to the streets.
Even today, the streets bear the name of those goods and retain the “theme” main: walking through Hang Gai you’ll see out in the street-puppet in the wood of the shows on the water; in via Lan Ngo, breathe in the fresh mountain air, medicinal and aromatic herbs; in Hang Giay do slalom between the shops of shoes and mountains of flip flops in rubber ammonticchiate on the sidewalks. A chaos theme that opens before my eyes, unexpected and surprising your senses.
8 million inhabitants. 5 million motorbikes.
The noise of the horn is the heartbeat of the capital. After the first day in the city we have started to think that the vietnamese are born directly on a scooter.
Cross the road
With a traffic like that, cross the street in the city may seem like an extreme sport.
There are two tricks though: start to cross “with chutzpah”, convinced that no one will invest. Walking the floor at a diagonal, without ever stopping, I decided to the other side of the road.
After bringing home the skin is a little bit of time, you will feel so brash and confident that you will flip even the crossing of a roundabout or a junction without any fear, as real asians.
Forget about walking on the sidewalk, as in Europe, in Vietnam, the sidewalk serves. Pedestrians can walk safely on the road, so no one is invested because the scooters are announced by sounding the horn(continuously).
The sidewalk is used for: sitting, chatting in front of a beer, eat ice cream, treat the fish, cut his hair.
The barbers are open at all hours: you sit on a plastic chair, there is reflected on the trunk of a tree, and away! The beard and hair done.
And then again, on the sidewalk, park the scooter, will sell goods of every kind (I’ll never forget those mountains of power strips), you can buy fruit, flowers, buttons, water bottles, and crafts.
You will have dinner sitting on tiny stools in plastic, while a few meters away cooks indaffaratissimespadellano like there was no tomorrow and wash dishes in a basin. With the detergent of course.
Watch this video. Here we were sitting on the sidewalk next to the Temple of literature , and you can get an idea of what the real street food 😉(The dinner was very good!)
In the evening in Hue is mundane and chaotic. Just down from the hotel we offer smoke. No thanks.
We are hungry, we go to the centre of the race.
The pedestrian area sounds like a bass drum between breweries of the multi-storey and “singer-songwriters” that emit verses forgotten in the middle of the road.
After two beers we retire to the hotel, defeated.
Family and traditions
How many children do you have?
Walking among the rice paddies of Sa Pa , or meeting up with orders in the shops, the conversation with the vietnamese women begins invariably with these questions in sequence:
- What do you call it?
- How old are you?
- How many children do you have?
Depending on the answer to the last question, you will receive:
- Smiles and looks of deep approval, if you have more children then you’ll immediately know how many children to have the lady you are talking to.
- Looks a bit sad but confident, if you have an only child, with many good wishes have soon other.
- Looks sorry and repentant, if children do not have.
- A single glance was very surprised and very worried, if you have exceeded the thirty, and the children don’t have.
At Ta Van Near Sapa, we stayed a night in a homestay, among the green, quiet rice paddies of the north.
Our hosts were a married couple, she 36, he 35.
They had four daughters. A son-in-law of 17 years. A grandson of 3 months. A dog, a cat, several geese, hens, chicks and a B&B.
And how old are you?
The girls who live in mountainous areas, to learn to embroider from a very small. The populations H monghave a long tradition in the art of embroidery, abilities important, which defines the value and the ability of women to be an adult.
- The males, however, by 6 or 7 years old and ride carefree with the water buffaloes to take them out to pasture. Alone, of course.
- Little vietnamese girl who embroiders to Ta Van
- Vietnamese children take the buffalos out to pasture
- Rainbow hair of our guide to Ninh Bihn
Our adorable guide to Ninh Bihn , her hair long and straight, rainbow. The maverick of the family. The hair of the vietnamese are black. Point.
Then for pleasure, it’s good for a while but then the hair should come back black, ok?
Also, vietnamese are sensitive to the wedding photos. Before the celebration of the union, the couple usually leaves for a long trip in your country, which lasts 2 or 3 weeks, with a whole staff photo at the following.
The two lovebirds are taking pictures in the places that they find most meaningful and important: among the lanterns of the historic centre of Hoi An, on the Step, Thai Van (called the Step of the Clouds), which marks the border area between the north and the south of the country… or on a crosswalk in the middle of an intersection in the city (seen with these eyes, in Hue).
As not to mention the wedding dress, the delight and dilemma of every woman before marriage.
Vietnamese women typically the wedding dress the rent. That dress is just a day, so why spend so much money for one thing then you will no longer use?
Men, on the contrary the dress buy it, then use it again on all formal occasions after the wedding: ceremonies, celebrations, and family reunions.
Who knows who has understood most of us europeans, and vietnamese. 🤔
Vietnamese cuisine and restaurants
At the table, do not use napkins but normal only of the micro-wipes unnecessary. Waterproof. The result: mountains of handkerchiefs that flutter among the dishes, and the hands are always greasy.
This is the dinner cooked by the lady with the frying pan, that you saw in the video 🙂
Mettetevela via: in Vietnam, almost all of the dishes have onion. You will find on the plate at lunch and dinner, even breakfast if you want. After a few days you do not feel any other flavor.
If the restaurant order something “without onion”, you know that often they do not understand and if in doubt there beccherete, however, that dried.
If lunch ordered a dish with “vegetables” because you are of the flesh, as a minimum, will arrive on the table something inside with a beaten egg.
To order a vietnamese coffee it is necessary to give to the waiter at least three pieces of information, otherwise it goes into crisis: coffee hot or cold; with or without condensed milk; with or without sugar. Everything comes in the same glass, forget about the sugar bowl and the milk jug.
However, the vietnamese coffee is delicious, I tell you).
Other eccentricities that are not classified
Sellers of newspaper to Hoi An
In Hoi An, the street vendors, perhaps with mobility issues sell newspapers on the strange means of the colour blue, which keeps moving up and down a handlebar similar to that of a bike.
They do not have the horn (which in Vietnam is a must) but not even a bell.
To register on to the shoulders of the passers-by do “bip-bi-bi-beep” voice.
Methods to combat the heat
As soon as you sit down in a restaurant or bar any you point a fan fortissimo in the face.
If you ask to move it or lower it a little air you’ll look as if I had just said a dirty word ugly turned to their mother.
In Vietnam there is always someone who crushes a nap in unlikely places (better if very noisy).
I could continue with this creating messy, because after a while, we take taste and our two notebooks of Vietnam are full of anecdotes of this kind.