I’ve done a bit more wandering including more motorcycle rides around Hanoi. Another interview took me a bit further south and I’ve now visited a couple of modern malls with upscale stores. Once outside the Old Quarter the streets broaden but I still ended up walking on the road more often than not due to all the motorbikes parked on the sidewalks. I’ve spent a bit of time on the ‘net looking at Vespas and was initially quite excited about perhaps buying a restored Vespa from a business like ScootersAZ in Saigon. However, after a bit more research this looks like “buyer beware”. Replacement parts can often be low quality and one needs to keep a careful eye on what they’re getting. If I’m lucky I may find a used Vespa for sale in Hanoi (there are lots here and Vespa recently opened a factory just outside Hanoi). Otherwise I may rent a bike or try to find a four-stroke Honda or Yamaha here. The prices are less than at home and shipping isn’t too much. Anyways more on that at a later date. Here’s a photo taken along the street where tiny shop after tiny shop service bikes, much of the work done on the sidewalk. These guys are wearing Sym shirts (I’ll get you a local brochure Tony!).
Meanwhile the job search continues (more on that later too). Plus the quest for food. I’ve eaten at a number of great places: everything from Mexican to fine Vietnamese including a number of regular Vietnamese restaurants and even some pretty darn good pub food. On a rainy day I spotted this little setup near St. Joseph’s Cathedral. I haven’t eaten here yet. Note the little blower for the fire.
I found a store named after me – does this translate as ‘Kelly Boy’? Could I maybe get a job here. No, I’m probably too old and fat for high fashion…
On a bit higher culture note here’s the Hanoi Opera House, a great example of colonial architecture.
Note the nice blue sky. A major change from yesterday when a tropical depression went through accompanied by wind and rain. I read where the coast has been hard hit in Central Vietnam by storms.
Speaking of high culture….
Yep, that’s a bong… but that’s no marijuana in it; bong’s are commonly used to smoke tobacco in Vietnam. This young man’s a security guard outside a store. He and his two mates were having a puff as I sauntered by and were happy to pose for me. Although I’ve taken a few sneaky photos usually I’ve asked permission and have even been invited in to take photos, such as this temple.
Now, I think it’s a temple, but no one spoke English and there was no English signage. I was actually outside, in the small alley it’s situated in, admiring the funky old building, when a woman stepped out and waved me in to take a photo. There’s something about the iconography of this place and the statues I saw in the museum which makes me feel very serene. And I’ve no idea what I’m looking at – I suspect they’re Buddhist, but I really don’t know.
And now onto the neighborhood around my hotel…..