|My room at the InterContinental|
We also faced a significant event while we were here. One of the heroes of Vietnam, General Vo Nguyen Giap, died on Friday the 11th at the age of 103. He is credited as having been instrumental in securing Vietnam's independence from the French, among other achievements. A state funeral was held the next day, and then there was a long procession as they took his body to the airport. Thousands and thousands of people attended, and for the funeral, there were also several ambassadors and other significant representatives from various countries. Roads and sections of the city were blocked off for these events.
I did have a few good moments shopping when I was in Hanoi. I got photos of some really beautiful vintage embroidery work, which is easy enough to find in the northern part of the country as the northern tribes are known for their embroidery work, and it's easier to find these things for sale in Hanoi than in the southern part of the country. I couldn't afford to buy the vintage stuff because it was quite a bit more money that I had to spend, but I would have loved to buy something. I managed to get a couple of adequate photos of the items before the shop owner caught me and told me no photos were allowed. I hate it when that happens, but I understand the reasons why.
A colleague and I also happened across a quilt store that supports women in the country. Mekong Quilts produces beautiful items, and I hope I can buy one of their larger items one day when I have a bit more available cash.
One thing that I was surprised to see was the number of women wearing those conical bamboo hats. Sometimes we think that these are village practices or are no longer part of people's everyday attire when westernised attire becomes available, but really, this is a very regular part of some people's every day tradition, even if it's just for street vendors or what have you. In my romantic notions of things bucolic, I definitely find a beauty in it.
|Street scene in the old city|
I found a Circle K and was excited to see some of the snack foods in it. I found a lot of seaweed-flavoured snacks. I bought a bag of chips just to taste it, but I realised when I got back to my room that I grabbed the wrong bag, and I've bought something that I'm unsure of what the flavour is. It wasn't bad, but I can't tell from the photo on the bag what it's supposed to be, but it looks like grilled fish. Oh well. Maybe I'll have to go buy another bag of the seaweed ones, though I'm not in the habit of eating a lot of fish. I'm not that fond of them that I want to eat them all the time.
I also discovered this winter melon iced tea drink. It doesn't seem like something that would make a good drink. Maybe one day, I will try it. I've so far tried sapodilla milkshake and lemon yogurt drink (which contained no citrus and tasted like sweet lassi, but it was yummy!). I wanted to try things I haven't heard of or haven't tried before. It's been an adventure on that front, too! haha As it turns out, I've tried sapodilla before, but I learned from the Wikipedia link that it's known as chickoo in India, and I remember not liking it much. In milkshake form, it's not terrible, but I wouldn't order it again. It was something to try. I also had snail, banana, and tofu noodles with a curry-like sauce. It was tasty, but I felt the bananas were too starchy and not cooked enough. Hanoi is known for snail dishes, apparently, so I thought I should try some while I'm there. Anyway, hopefully I'll have some more exciting updates later on in the trip!