Robin's Adventures

Southeast Asia
Adventures in the Far East

Museum of Fine Arts

There was an interesting collection of Vietnamese art that represented a variety of styles, time periods, and media. Wandering through the museum gave us an interesting glimpse into the cultural consciousness of the Vietnamese people.

Electrical Wires

Power lines, phone lines, and television cables are a big tangled mess throughout the city. The wires hang precariously off of buildings, trees, and power poles. The twisted mess looks like a crazy rat's nest.

We noticed that one of the technicians who was working on the wires was standing barefoot on the back of his scooter as he worked. The ubiquitous wires were a definite eyesore.

Confucian Temple of Literature

The temple was built in 1070 and was dedicated to Confucius. It was designed to be an academy of learning and was Vietnam's first university.

Temple of Literature

There are three pathways that lead visitors through each of the five courtyards at the temple. The temple can be found on Vietnamese currency, on the back of the 100,000 đồng banknote.

Rickshaw Ride

The rickshaw ride through the streets in the old town section of Hanoi was amazing. Our driver moved us through crowded narrow streets congested with cars, bicycles, scooters, and pedestrians. As we wove our way in and out of the traffic, we saw all of the small shops that lined each street with the local people going about their daily business.

Rickshaw Discoveries

Each of the narrow streets that we meandered through specialized in a different type of product. Some streets had fruits and vegetables, others specialized in spices, fabrics, clothing, flowers, paper goods, decorations for the upcoming Chinese New Year, hardware, or scooter repair.

Driving down each of these streets in an open vehicle allowed us to experience each of the businesses with multiple senses. We could feel the excited hustle and bustle of the crowds. The colors and shapes were vivid and the sounds were sharp and clear. We could smell the pungent spices, the musty paper, the fresh fruits, and the beautiful perfume of the flowers.

Winding through Traffic

It is amazing that with all of the cars, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians crowding the streets of Hanoi, anyone is able to safely get to where they are going. It is a challenge to pick a path through the ever changing traffic tangle.

Scooters are often loaded with unwieldy cargo. Sometimes there are mothers driving the scooter with babies in their arms and older children hanging on to their backs. There do not seem to be any rules regulating who has the right of way and traffic signs and signals seem to be merely a suggestion.

Street Vendors

You can buy just about anything, such as tasty treats or even toilet paper, from a street vendor. These entrepreneurs strap their wares to bicycles, carts, scooters, or just carry them in baskets dangling from a pole that is slung over their shoulders.

Traveling Shops

The street vendors set up on street corners or walk through crowded neighborhoods and they seem to do a hefty business.

Beautiful Downtown Hanoi

Buildings are generally tall and narrow. Shops are at street level and the shop owner's apartment is upstairs. Balconies are often caged in behind chain link fencing and each apartment has a tangle of electrical wiring attached.