Hanoi Under the Skin

Hanoi is a place where filthy abundance and noise follow you everywhere and the action takes place low to the ground. The fluid movement of traffic resembles a drift, like dunes. Time slows, suspended in particulate-filled air. While locals make business and take draws from traditional pipes, the sound waves of motorbike horns and tonal conversations compete for space through which to move

Woman Selling - Hanoi
Hanoi Street Vendor, Vietnam

Some people call this relaxed and insist that Hanoi is laid back. In comparison to what, we’re not sure.

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Hanoi’s Social Enterprises, Part I

As I was told by the General Manager of Craft Link, Ms. Tran Tuyet Lan, not-for-profit organizations have to sell quality products in order to survive. Charity isn’t sustainable.

But Hanoi’s Hoa Sua School and Craft Link try. The customer gets quality food and handicrafts, respectively, in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling from contributing to a good social cause. It's an ideal – and apparently sustainable – combination.

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A Taste of Hanoi

Everyone raves about the food in Hanoi. However, we found our street-eating selves a bit stymied the first few days of our visit. Not sure if it was the fickle weather, our outlook, or the fear of being served a surprise chicken foot or pig ear, but our initial impression of the cuisine was not quite impenetrable, but less than accessible.

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An Honest Look at Vietnam’s Subsidy Period

Our visit to Hanoi's Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology included all the requisite colorfully embroidered and woven clothing, agriculture tools, religious artifacts and sample living quarters in an ample demonstration of Vietnam's surprisingly wide and diverse variety of ethnic minorities. The extraordinarily honest and introspective exhibition on the difficulties of life under Vietnam’s Subsidy Economy between 1975 and 1986 – now that was exceptional!

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Hanging in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Junk Boat, Vietnam
Halong Bay, Vietnam

Sometimes a moment of peace in a beautiful setting is what you need when traveling, especially when you are in northern Vietnam. A nod to Halong Bay for filling this need and for offering some of the most visually spectacular landscape in the region. Meaning “Bay of the Descending Dragon, ” Halong Bay has almost 2000 limestone islands that rise above the water like dragons moving through the sea.

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