Welcome to Hanoi, city of noodles, city of lakes, city of streets which are better to cross with your eyes closed. This is so because there are such a great number of motorbikes coming your way that you just have to walk across slowly and let them weave around you as you make your way to the other side. Bethany and I usually line up parallel to Blaine so that if a unconscience driver happened to deck us, he'd be the first one to go. Amazingly, that hasn't happened yet!
Other than crossing the street, there is a lot to do here. Yesterday was my first day in the city. (read: more than 36 hours of traveling and I'm still wearing the same thing as when I said good bye to Grandma on the 9th...they lost my luggage.) Actually yesterday we just wandered the streets, stopping and peering in on all things unusual. This occured on average every 3 steps. The petshop was interesting. When I say shop I mean a collection of things for sale which are situated in the same general location a few inches away from the bustling traffic. Pet shop...imagine animals which look like they haven't had a bite to eat since the sad day their mother cut them off. There were strangly cats and dogs. There were lots of birds. Some lovely tropical birds bursting with color in cages by the pair. Then there were cages of small sparrow-like birds which needed a small arbouretum to properly balance the bird to breathing/flying space ratio. These birds were literally standing on top of each other. After the pet shop, we visited the meat market which was just a few convienient steps away. I won't write about this one in detail for the sake of keeping my readership to maximum numbers. :)
The food here is absolutely incredible. And its like a dollar. We've been eating mostly street food and yesterday for lunch we chose a shop which looked safe based on the number of patrons at the tables. We sat down, pausing only for a moment to wonder what we should order. Without saying anything, the waitress/cook/owner brought us each a basket of sticky white rice noodles and a big bowl with various types of greens. We looked around conspicuously to see how exactly we were to make a meal of this. Then she brought us each a bowl of steaming broth with a few meatball type of things in the bottom and a basket of fried spring rolls to share. We looked at her with "instructions please" eyes and she motioned that we were to take the lettuce in our chopsticks and dip it in the broth and the same for the noodles. YUUUUUUMY! It's kind of like Thai food in the respect that they seem to have found perfect harmony among sweet, spice, sour and texture. More to come in this department.
My bag is supposed to come today so I'll try to post some pictures when I am wearing clothes which look like they haven't been adorned for almost a week straight in a 3rd world country.
Until then, peace and love from the east!
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