Posted by: sharemore1 | October 2, 2012

Morning in Hanoi

 Sharemore Adventures has returned to the blogosphere.  Moshe and I will be in Viet Nam through January and I’ll provide you with frequent reports on our life here.  If you click on the box at the top of the blog the posts will be delivered to your e-mail.

Wake Up Call

The golden-plumed rooster and the government loud speakers compete to see who can wake us up first.  The content of their messages is equally unintelligible, but the effect is the same:  the day has begun.

Our apartment in Hanoi is on the top floor of a building called Golden Lake.  From our windows we have a good view of the lake, which is, sadly, less than golden.  My husband Moshe has dubbed it “Dead Fish Lake” for its frequent floating carcasses.

Soon after the sun rises at 5:45 we can see people swinging their arms to boast their heart rate as they quickly circumnavigate the lake.  Others are heading to a nearby corner for a regular badminton game.  Shortly after I arrived in Hanoi, when my jet-lagged brain still thought I was on Vashon Island, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood while it was cool and the traffic was tolerable.

Badminton Game

We felt slothful as we watched badminton players vigorously batting a shuttlecock back and forth.  Behind them a group of women were snapping bright red fans as they moved in unison.

Dancing with Fans

Moving on to the market, we saw that most vendors had already unloaded their  motorbikes and were offering their wares to the morning shoppers.   Moshe stopped to buy a pomelo from his regular seller.  She expertly cut the thick green peel from the fruit and removed the bitter membrane that gripped the segments.  Turns out that grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and the orange.  The pomelo is sweeter and milder than the grapefruit, but more difficult to peel.  We only buy from people who are willing to do the hard work for us, charging 60 cents for a large piece of fruit.

Peeling a Pomelo

Construction workers were already on the job, raising yet another apartment building in the neighborhood.  A young man sifting dirt seemed like a child dressed for a day at the beach—polo shirt, shorts and plastic sandals—rather than a hard day’s work.  He probably lives with the other workers in makeshift quarters within the building they are erecting.

Construction Worker

Watching others exercise and work made us hungry, so we headed for breakfast.  As we crossed the street, we encountered hundreds of students dressed in black pants, crisp white shirts and red neck scarves lining up on the street.   Traffic was diverted to the other side of the median to create a new lane traveling west on the eastbound side of the road.  The students invited us to join them, but when we found out they would be running for an hour, we told them we were already exhausted and hadn’t had our breakfast yet.

Early Morning Race

Finally we reached Pho Co, the local restaurant where we’re regulars.  They don’t need to ask for our order.   When they see us coming they bring bowls of hot beef noodle soup [it’s not considered soup, but that’s a topic for another blog] filled with extra vegetables and quay, crispy dumplings to dip in the broth.   We squeezed in a little lemon juice, added a few sliced red chilies and some pickled garlic.  Now it was  time to grab chopsticks, a little metal spoon and dig in.  The cost of breakfast for the two of us?  A little under $3.00.

Moshe with his iPho

Outside the traffic was picking up with everyone inching to work.  Buses, vans, passenger vehicles and taxis competed with motorbikes and bicycles for enough space to move forward.  It’s no contest.  The two-wheeled vehicles win.  If it’s too clogged on the street they brazenly drive on the sidewalk.

Rush Hour

Parents have squeezed their children onto motorbikes for the ride to school.   Colorful satchels slung over their shoulders, the children ride casually through the traffic, barely hanging on.   At the entrance to the school there is another traffic jam, with parents maneuvering their motorbikes through the metal gate to drop the young students off.

Ride to School

While others rushed to work and school, we returned to the relative peace of our lake.  The walkers were gone, the honking horns muffled and a few soft raindrops dimpled the water.   The decidedly free-range rooster was quiet as he pecked in a flower box near a cafe.  Even my tired brain knew I was in Hanoi.

Peaceful Lake


Responses

  1. Look forward to more posts, Sharon. I called a while back to. Get together, but you’d already left. I’m off in a couple of weeks to my candy reunion, and then in to NC to work for Obama. Take care- Melinda Sent from my iPhone

  2. Another great post that makes me want to go there.

  3. Proud to be a part of my definitely significant other. Hanoi will not be the same without her.
    Her blogs makes our little shared adventures so much more memorable.

  4. Hi Sharon, your pics are wonderful. I can imagine myself right there. How do you like the location of your new apartment? Is it easier or harder to get around than previous year? Enjoy!

  5. Thanks for your great writing and pictures – I get to visit Hanoi vicariously and it’s fun to imagine your daily experiences there. All is well here!!

  6. i love to play badminton specially during the weekends. this game rocks.”

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