Hanoi – I’ve Arrived

Its just gone midday here, i’ve got to my hotel and checked in. I’m trying to stay awake as long as possible to at least start resetting my body clock, so i thought i’d write down a few impressions i got from the taxi ride. I tried to take a few photo’s, but i dont know how well they manage to capture the overall feel of the place, which is –

Madness. Its the only city i’ve ever been to that seems to have been designed, and operate on, chaos theory. Its brilliant.

The traffic moves like a river, it ebbs and flows, lane discipline is non-existent, bicycles, mopeds, cars, trucks, all mixed together. People just walk across 3 lane carriageways more or less at will. I’d say that people dont use their indicators, but they do, it just doesnt seem in any way linked to what they actually intend on doing. Maybe the idea is to confuse other drivers into caution. People beep each other all the time, but no-one is angry. Its fascinating to watch, but actually riding around in it is a lot more daunting.

Clearly, some ducks have got much luckier here than others.

European cities have nice areas and downtrodden areas, but Hanoi isnt like that at all. Its half building site/rubbish dump, half beautiful architecture, and its all mixed in together. I saw one gorgeously ornamented townhouse, huge trees in pots growing on the rooftop garden, and leaning up agaist the building was a shack filled with clusters of recycled bottles.

The old quarter where i’m staying is pretty much the same, only even more densely packed, narrow streets filled with shops selling pretty much anything you can imagine, from the obvious toys and souvenirs, phones and clothes, to shops just selling huge rolls of paper and parchment, or huge lengths of metal pipes and bar, or silks and towels, motorcycle repair shops, and everywhere, everywhere, little bars (which you can tell because they all have the legend “Bia Hoi Ha Noi”). I’ll try to get a few pics when i go for a wander.

Now I’m going to have a shower, unpack all my stuff, and probably just watch a film and have a sleep. Which might seem a bit of a crap way to spend my first day, but i’m too tired for anything else.

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~ by zendog888 on 22/10/2010.

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