VIETNAM & THE STREETS OF HANOI
In summary: a belly full of bún chá and zero motorbike injuries.
I landed in Hanoi to lost luggage and a rainy haze after a full 30 hours of travel. The air was thick and damp, leading my hair to instantly expand. I found the airport to be crammed and crowded. I spent more time than I'd like to admit trying to find the driver that was to fetch me and bring me to my apartment. I was disoriented and extremely sleep deprived.
But there was something to the Vietnamese air...and it was time to get acquainted.
Đi một ngày đàng học một sàng khôn.
A day of traveling will bring a basket full of learning
Chaos is the Word
There isn't anything orderly about the streets of Vietnam. To cross the road, you simply begin walking - looking only ahead - into full traffic packed with motorbikes, pedestrians, and cars. Any hesitation on your part and suddenly you're in a game of Frogger. You simply walk and the traffic flows around you - and it's quite a beautiful chaos. It's like water flowing around a pebble in the stream.
A block from my apartment there was a street market where women sat on the ground and slaughtered chickens and fish, leaving remains and guts along the streets and selling directly from baskets on the ground. These street-side markets repeated with flowers, holiday decor, clothes, home goods, etc. Everything was at your disposal without leaving the streets.
People surround you anywhere you go. Life is lived on the streets. And those streets are what you don't forget when you look back to Hanoi, and a very Vietnamese life.