Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hanoi impressions and images

by Saigon Charlie

The morning has come and gone and I now working on uploading some photos after taking a long walk in another part of Hanoi.

There is much that impresses me with the city but of those many things, one is the ready availability of Internet in the form of 'WiFi". Even here at my backpackers guesthouse it is free and powerful with my upload speeds the highest I have found anywhere here in Asia. It seems just about everywhere you stroll you pass a hotel, cafe or hotel advertising free wireless. Just the fact that is starting to be made available tells me where priorities are being places in this country and with communications one of the most critical in my opinion, the Internet is very close to the top of the list, if not at the top.

It was also interesting to note this AM how traffic accidents are resolved. Like in Cambodia and Thailand, the police seldom get involved and the issue is sorted out with those that were involved and witnessed it. As you can see from the photo, you have your victims, witnesses and jury. The second accident just turned into a screaming match with the old lady and her cargo and those that had hit her. Seems no one really cared what her problem was...

I even got hit while standing in the middle of the street trying to make my way through the chaos of traffic by a girl who was making a U-Turn. I am pretty careful but unfortunately don't have eyes in the back of my head, although in Hanoi, you should have!

Another thing that makes me smile is the horns. Yes, everyone and everywhere at all times is honking but it is the variety of the horns that makes it all worth while. If anyone has ever seen the 'Dukes of Hazard' they might understand what one might hear in Hanoi.

I had a really decent lunch again at a small street cafe and as you can see from the lovely ladies working the tables, service with a smile. It was comical however to watch motorbike after motorbike come onto the sidewalk and drive through the cafe and out some rear entrance. I can only guess there was a parking lot in the rear or that was the parking area for the cafe. Either way, I have noticed this to be quite normal with parking spaces at a premium. One can only imagine the problems as the motorbikes start to fade away being replaced by the inevitable cars that will come.