I moved into the Camellia Hotel about a week ago and have been very happy here. The hotel is on an alley, so there’s less traffic; the owners are super nice people and my deluxe room is only $20 per night. I’ve got wifi and ethernet (although sometimes intermittent), a small fridge, tv, a huge wardrobe and a decent sized bathroom. Here’s what it looks like from the alley:
Well, I guess you can’t see a lot of it from this angle but you can see the lane and how it twists and turns off towards the ‘wet’ market. Everyday the owners and their boy are here taking care of business and then they’re off for home on Dad’s bike. Note that the boy’s only protection is the face mask, protecting him from exhaust fumes. Generally parents wear helmets and the kids don’t. Apparently the reasoning is that helmets are too heavy for their little heads. There is an NGO in Hanoi that supplies kids helmets but it seems not many parents are convinced helmets might save their little ones’ lives.
Here’s a view from my balcony during the tropical depression yesterday. Vendors set up early in the day selling their produce, catching people on their way to and from the market.
Once again the humidity fogged my lens but that’s what we call ‘atmosphere’!
There are a couple of bends in the alley and then we enter the ‘wet’ market. ‘Wet’ means there’s lots of meat and produce as opposed to dry goods. It’s a fascinating market to wander through. One just has to be careful not to be bumped by a scooter. Indeed people do drive their scooters right into the market, honking away. Sometimes the traffic jams and everybody has to wait while someone on a scooter purchases and eel or fish or some other tasty something. This photo shows the intersection in the market: go right and there’s a few more stalls and then you’re out of the market; go straight and it runs for almost a block; turn left and it goes on for almost another block; and behind me is the lane towards the hotel.
I enjoy walking back to the Camellia and seeing life in the lane. There are many little shops, homes and cafes. Plus people sitting out – eating, selling, making things or relaxing.
I’ve been watching a young man making these figures for days now. I’m sure if they’re for an upcoming holiday or if he’s producing a stockpile.
A couple of my favorite eating and drinking spots are just outside the alley. I’ve gone to LePub a few times now. They’ve a good selection of beers and daily drink specials plus great pub food. The music’s modern and the staff is friendly if a little crazy sometimes. One of the craziest called out to me the other day and I thought he had another joke for me but he was calling me back as I’d left my camera on the table! Yikes… not a smart move. Thank goodness for honest staff. I’d been so busy chatting to a couple from Spain I just plain forgot it on my table.
And no, I haven’t tried the $2 ‘Jagerbomb’. And I don’t think I will. But the $2 martini was decent. No olives though Sue ;o)
My other favorite spot on Hang Be St. is the Number Five restaurant. They serve egg bennies which I treat myself to once in a while. I was there this morning for my Sunday brunch and sat watching the street scene. A woman was selling large fruit from from her bicycle. One of the waitresses ran out and got one, so I asked what they were. Grapefruit. The woman peeled them on the spot with a few dextrous knife moves.
As you can see it was sunny again today. Yesterday, however, was wet and it got dark early. On my way for Mexican food I spotted an orange glow crossing the gloomy street. That’s life in Hanoi: just when you think things are at their darkest something bright and crazy passes by bringing a smile to your face.
That’s wrap for today folks. Thanks for visiting the ‘hood with me. Drop on by anytime ….