Hanoi & HCMC seem to be similiar in size, Hanoi is perhaps a little smaller. They are both very busy with traffic, motorcycles, etc, but there is a character in the buildings here that I like. Walking through the Old Quarter is amazing. Shops are generally arranged in areas, each street specializing in a certain product. There is shoe shop street, ‘bunnings’ street, buttons & fabric street, paper lantern street and much to the kids delight toy street! This dates back to age of the craft guilds in the 13th century. As in HCMC, the sidewalks are alive with activities, eating, motorcycle parking, barbers cutting hair, merchants selling fruit. Walking the sidewalks is a real challenge, dodging and weaving through the dining areas, residents all sitting on little stools about a foot off the ground, and motorcycle parking…it doesn’t seem to end. It’s fascinating and amazing. You could walk for hours if it wasn’t for the oppressive heat. Unlike summer at home, no southerly comes through to offer relief – even the locals are sweating and complaining about it!
This afternoon saw the most massive storm hit, with a torrential downpour lasting about 2 hrs. We managed to get thoroughly soaked as we were out exploring the little laneways at the time. Mind you everyone was happily slushing through it as it was a welcome relief…..for a little while at least.