In Hanoi the sip lid hole is an inconvenience.
Every single coffee shop offering takeaway has a roll of tape at the counter. Your coffee is prepared, lidded and the hole, or holes, are taped to stop spillage. The cup is bagged and the bag hooked onto your motorbike as you continue your journey to work or home.
People don’t walk in Hanoi. Nobody strolls sipping from a takeaway latte.
This is what all those tourist traffic tales and tips for crossing roads don’t get. Yes there are ways to cross the road, but most of us will go months between crossings. Hanoians don’t cross roads. When you literally park your bike in your kitchen, then on the pavement outside work, a cafe, shop or bar, why would you?
Even if you’d like to walk you can’t. The pavements are full of bikes.
The coffee is for the destination. Not the journey.
Yesterday I was all suited for work as we had a VIP visitor.
Once they had left there was a glass or two of champagne left over which I gratefully took advantage of. Around the same time I realised it was raining and that having forgotten a coat my suit wasn’t going to fare well under the drizzle.
So, reasoning that a jacket would be wrecked, I set off in an open neck shirt and smart trousers.
Eyes half closed against the drizzle, I manoeuvred between the traffic while slowly getting wetter and wetter.
Then the laugh came, almost a whoop. The ridiculousness of it all. Living and working in Vietnam, driving home – a big tay amongst all the Vietnamese – soaked through.
So absurd. If they could see me now…
Even now, almost a decade after I first visited Vietnam I never really saw this coming.
Still living the dream. Still just about remembering this was the dream.
We took these shots just as the whole #hanoi1000 was kicking off. For some time we’d been living with a new road being built just around the corner from our home in Nghi Tam.
As annoying as the work was, completing a road around Westlake did, begrudgingly, seem like a good idea.
I’m not sure whether its completion was timed to coincide with the celebrations but traffic chaos meant that, on one trip home, I decided to head the other way around the lake instead – wondering how far the new track would take me.
It took me all the way home. A nice little drive. Peaceful and quiet enough to take off your helmet and enjoy the sun and breeze on your face.
Later I returned with Loan and she snapped these shots from behind me as I drove.
I’m half tempted to get a bicycle, but will this quiet little run soon be discovered by the boy racers and the SUVs?
I hope not.
Rest of the pics are here.