Dedicated to my father. Happy Birthday, Dad!
As I have stated in the Shocking Asia opening post, my “Shocking Asia” trip was not meant to be shocking bizzare experience. However, I am being asked the same question “What was the most shocking experience on your Shocking Asia trip?”. So here is my list of Top 10 “Shocking Asia” experiences from Hanoi, Vietnam.
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It is unbelievable how much stuff you can transport on a scooter!
You can easily fit three beautiful girls behind your back
or, if you are married, you can fit your entire family! Just remind your wife to take a bicycle with her (in case you meet three beautiful girls hitchhiking on the road).
If you are not married and those girls are busy, put something fun behind your back. A cow might be a good idea!
Save on the rent of a U-HAUL truck and help your friend to move to a new apartment.
SMOKING A PIPE
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have not tried smoking tobacco with a traditional Vietnamese pipe. Probably, it is very tasty! Otherwise, I do not see any reason for carrying this thing with me every day.
INDOORS COOKING OVER AN OPEN FIRE
Do you know that’s okay to cook your lunch over an open fire inside of your office cubical?
These two clever girls are barbecuing meat over an open fire inside of a pottery store they work for. I am sure, a shop owner will never know about this because the girls are using a little fan to blow smoke out door.
RUSH HOUR IN HANOI TRAFIC
The Rush hour in Hanoi Old Quarter is quite an experience! It is fun to watch how the streets fill with scooters, bikes, cars, and people moving in all directions. There are neither traffic lights nor stop signals. There is only one Rule of the Road: “DON’T EVER STOP!”
This girl didn’t follow the rule…
Look at the size of the boy’s bicycle. It is almost a three-wheeler! This tells when and where one needs to start riding to become a pro-racer.
Bonus video: Traffic in New Hanoi, Vietnam
The Sidewalks!- that’s what makes Hanoi Old Quarter different from any other city district in the World. A sidewalk in Old Quarter is as chaotic as the middle of the street. A narrow lines of pavement are fully loaded with scooters and bikes parked at all possible angles, vendors and buyers bargaining for goods, bistros and cafes brewing Vietnamese coffee beans, street food makers and locals sitting on small plastic stools, eating a quick noodle meal… All these are accompanied by variety of smells which are not always fresh in +35 degree Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) heat.
I was amused by the use of Latin-spelled words that have totally different meaning in English. Thanks to a beautiful backpacker Abby (name changed) for modeling for me at the entrance to the store “Cock”. A welcome sign (possibly a slogan) sets the tone for the rest of your visit.
HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM
I don’t think that exposing a body of a dead man is the right thing to do. Even if that body belongs to a former leader. In my opinion, Ho Chi Minh should be treated with Vietnamese cultural rituals and be buried in a soil. As well as Lenin in Russia.
And, what a disappointment, they don’t allow to take pictures of Ho Chi Minh inside of the Mausoleum :) Actually, since my camera was “a big camera”, I had to leave it at the entrance to the “park area” and pick it up at the exit from the Mausoleum 30 minutes later. It was a tough decision for me… My camera worth a 10-year salary of the guy who relocated it.
GIRLS ON SCOOTERS
In Hanoi it’s all about fashion. I was amazed by fashionably dressed female riders. Cool helmets, fancy dresses, high-heel shoes… Look at the heels below!
Of course, girls do not have to dress up in the States… Who would see you in a car?
Hanoi is 1000 years old. And some of the buildings in Old Quarter look like they are the same age. Huge silver-shiny water tanks are installed on the roofs of the buildings. A gazillion of electrical wires and telephone lines are hanging along the streets, enhancing the infrastructure.
I was surprised to see so much of communist propaganda on the streets of modern Hanoi. It is everywhere!
I don’t have any pictures… It was +45 degrees Celsius (113 Farenheit) in my coach on LaoCai-Hanoi train. It was Shocking hot!
I guess this was the most shocking experience of the trip- seeing a dog as a meal.
I love dogs! I had a German Shepherd, who was my friend! What can I say? We eat pigs, cows, rabbits, and other pets too… People, stop eating animals!
NOTE, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED: if you click on the image below, a color version will be displayed.
Please have your say and share your experience in the comments below.