Wednesday, Not doing much..
Nothing planned, just start out by turning left and left again, ending up wherever the road takes me. It's late morning, misty and drizzly, been like this all the time I've been here in Hanoi, but getting slightly warmer. French influence is evident throughout the area, very artisan and sometimes quaint, and of course pricy. Many art shops selling an interesting mix of contemporary and fine pieces. Occasionally some way out paintings and plenty of propaganda posters in between. Several art cafes here, also a fine arts museum, so art lovers are well catered for in Hanoi.
A quick look at the nearby market, just on the northern boundary of the old quarter. An indoor market on 3 floors. Fabrics and textile products occupy vast areas, practically the entire 2nd foor. 15 or so minutes is enough here, especially since toilet smells emanate across the place, pooh!
Some streets seem dedicated to a specific product. I've seen this frequently whilst pounding the Hanoi streets. Jewellery centrerd around a few streets whilst textiles span across several more streets and shoes, millions of them, can be found a few more streets away, and so it go's on. Kangaroo cafe again, time to rest over their fab coffee and catch up with local news.
The Vietnam news is published in English, providing full national coverage. A few stories over the last couple of days: More British tourists are expected to visit Vietnam, is the headline, and is according to a report published by the UK Post Office. This is based on a significant increase in enquiries in 2011 and the opening of a direct non-stop flight from London to Saigon. Other headlines, Meekong countries discuss strategies to stop human trafficking, Police nab gang of motorbike thieves in Saigon and several stories relating to the fraud problem, namely over charging and not listing prices correctly. Hanoi gets tough on pavement parking. There is a concerted effort from the authorities to clear some pavements, and I have seen this in action. A small pick up with a bout six police officers will occasionally stop and raid an area, giving out stern warnings and tickets in some cases