Black Hmong & Hanoi, Vietnam

First meal in Hanoi, Vietnam

It was quite a spontaneous act to visit Vietnam in which I originally intended to visit some coffee farms after reading an article about coffee bean producers around the world. My friends and family were shocked when I told them I am going to visit Vietnam alone. Vietnam is just chaos from their perception, (indeed it is, but in a lovely way). I stayed with an Airbnb host as usual, who were a local owner of a travel agency in Vietnam and an… Australian! My Australian host makes my life in Vietnam much easier because Vietnamese, particularly in Hanoi, literally can neither speak or understand any English.

Their cute dog, Taru (sorry for my low definition mobile camera..)

Taru ate with me every morning, even though I left for a two-day tour at 6 a.m. in the morning. I would really love to give some to him but I am not allowed to..Sorry Taru!

A map of local area provided by host

I do not rely on my phone a lot in daily lives but I usually purchase a one-week data plan in order to navigate in a foreign country..(yes..I am a complete idiot in terms of finding directions). But this time, the first time I rely wholly on this map for one-week stay in Hanoi because of two reasons. Firstly, once you take out your mobile and look up for directions, street vendors will immediately come to you and say "photo?” in exchange for your 40000VND for a mango. I doubt this is a good phenomenon though.

Snapshot for a corner

It was still early morning so traffic is not busy yet. I love the colors in these small neighborhoods. I was very successful in pretending as locals. Some motorbikes will speak to me for a while which I completely do not understand. Later they explained to me that may be they are offering me a ride.

Raw meat shop in a small neighborhood

I did expect that the hygiene condition in markets in Hanoi is not good at all. But I never expected that they would have this kind of small stores selling raw meat of various kinds. I wanted to be a respectful traveler so I dare not take a close-up photo.

Propaganda in Vietnam

Vietnam is still under communist rule and you will know well when you arrived because you can see these red banners all around the city.

“Parking areas”

According to tour guide of my Tam-coc trip, he told us that the population in Vietnam is around 11 million and they have 8 million motorbikes, not adding the number of private cars. I regretted that I did not take the photo of the busy traffic (with hundreds of motorbikes). I took a deep breath when I first stepped onto one of the main roads in Hanoi.

Area outside St. Joseph’s Church

I am neither experienced traveler, nor a checkpoint traveler. If I have the opportunity I would love to listen to stories directly from locals and explore the lesser-known corners.

These spices are lovely!
Nice old neighborhood leading to host’s apartment
I forgot the name of this dish because I literally point at others’ bowl to order

It was quite an adventure when I went to this local store for meals. My host told me you just need to point at that item - eat- and pay. That's it. It turned out to be a huge language barrier. This bowl charged me 70,000 VND which is acceptable, given the bowl of mixed veges. But I gave the 200,000 VND which I almost mistaken that the owner gave me less change that it supposed to be. I am guilty for having that kind of thought.

Let's end here and I continue with my amazing journey with black Hmong in the next story:)

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