Jul 19, 2008


Yes, that is what you think it is. The staff of a very tasty restaurant where I had dinner one night is cleaning onions in the street. If you live and work in the city, daily life spills out onto the street with a seamlessness that I have a hard time getting used to.

The street is living room, dining room, business establishment, workshop, garbage pail, garage and of course kitchen. The only thing it isn't is bedroom as the whole city is literally shuttered at night and everything that was on the street during the day is hauled inside. It makes navigating the twisting streets of the Old Quarter even more difficult at night as the doorknob shop with the birdcages that's next to the combination mystery meat "pho" stand and gas station are all metal shutters. All you're left with are street names that change mid-way in the block.

Unlike Boston, Hanoi actually labels BOTH streets at an intersection. Despite the unfamiliar names and changing landmarks, it was easier finding my way around in Hanoi than in the city that did for GPS driving directions what San Francisco did for Rice-A-Roni.

Oh, and those green onions? They wete fantastic.

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