Sunday, October 23, 2005

More on our first day in Hanoi

We wandered around the Old Quarter of Hanoi today, relying on a walk laid out by our friends at Lonely Planet. It was actually pretty cool, and we didn't get lost (much). This is a market, in the open air (which is much nicer than the one we saw last night with the fried dogs). Something about the open air makes the combination of rotting meat, fish sauce, and exhaust a little more bearable.

But don't get the idea that this is less than wonderful -- it is really incredible being here. It's easier for my mouth to water in response to the produce than to the meat, for sure, but it's really amazing.

Oh yeah, here is a shot of the dog stand. Just as Marc surreptitiously went in to take a shot of the dog stand, a woman whizzed in front of him on her motorcycle (the only way people get around on the motorcycles, whizzing). So she is blocking the direct view, but those are fried dogs. Yep.

And they were so good, we had to go back for more. Our earlier research on fried dog in Vietnam really paid off.

This is a standard street scene -- a little congested, but not awfully, people on bikes and motorcycles, and women in straw hats with yokes on their shoulders carrying two baskets full of fruit, usually, but sometimes odd things like stacks of plastic-wrapped bras.

The women who carry baskets of bananas usually stopped to ask, "Madame? Banana? Banana?" but we weren't quite ready to negotiate a purchase of bananas on the street with dong, when we can't understand prices. When we've bought other things with dong -- water, postcards -- the people from whom we bought our little things held calculators in their hands and just punched in the numbers for us. Much easier.

We stopped for lunch because (a) we were hungry, and (b) we were both seriously overstimulated from the noise and smells and the really frequent need to ignore people who were wanting to sell us something, or take us for cyclo rides. So we ducked into this little restaurant called La Brique, full of tourists (mostly from France, from the sounds of the conversation around us). I got fish in banana leaf, and Marc got fish on charcoal. Mine was 2 pieces of white fish in a tomato sauce wrapped in a banana leaf, with a bowl of rice. The waitress cooked Marc's at the table.


anna said...

oh man the food looks good
think ya can smuggle me back some vietnamese-plant-seeds?
well, now i have left a comment so you cant say i didnt keep in touch.
glad you are having fun

marn said...

:) these updates make me so happy. i'm so glad y'all are having fun!

Anonymous said...

you two are so cool and it sounds like you are having such a great time. just don't you dare even think abt fried cat!

come back ready for ski season. it's getting cold here already.