The cold weather today got me daydreaming of the last time I was really warm. I spent the Chinese national day holiday in October visiting Vietnam. We arrived in Hanoi just before midnight on a humid evening to an empty airport. Its hard to describe the contrast that peaceful moment had with the rest of our time in Hanoi.(click here for more info on Hanoi) The city of 6 million feels both visually and physically dense. Motor bikes zing past you as you walk down the street. Colorful ads plaster every empty display space. Street vendors are selling everything from Dog meat to clothing to air conditioners. Little kids play on the side walk as their parents build aluminum duct work by hand. It was fascinating to see how order was maintained in this seemingly chaotic city.
We inadvertently booked our trip during the 1000 years of Hanoi celebration. We were able to see thousands of people walking through the streets for the celebration. I enjoyed seeing how happy people where. I think you can tell a lot about a culture by how large groups act when they are in small spaces. The Vietnamese attitude was very casual. No one was pushing and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to get out of the crowd. Most were smiling and laughing, which is a nice departure from the sometimes serious demeanor of the Shanghainese. The pictures above are from Hanoi and Halong Bay. Ill post more about that part of the trip soon.