Exploring the Old Quarter with local help

After yesterday’s more spontaneous trip, I decided to return to the Old Quarter, but with more time and with my long time facebook friend Lan as tour guide / language support / lunch buddy.

While the bike part was 13 km, the actual walking bit ended up 10km zig-zagging through the very busy streets of the old quarter. Some general observations:

  • The sidewalks are taken over by parked motorbikes, you have to walk on the street with active motorbikes, cars, taxis, busses, tourist vehicles and other pedestrians.
  • Đồng Xuân Market is not even for locals easy. Especially when they walk around with a tall foreigner. Most places would not even want to sell a single item, which makes me think that this hub of activity is more for wholesale.
  • Although there is food everywhere, it can become overwhelming where to finally eat. There is a dark alley leading towards Đồng Xuân Market which looked most interesting, but also super busy and no tourists at all.
  • The closer you are to the lake, the more English is spoken, the higher the prices are.
  • I am not sure if the brand name items are Chinese fake copies, or the actual originals, manufactured in Vietnam and then sent to the US / EU to be sold at much higher prices. I saw that ‘Northern Face’ outdoor gear was all over the place.

Looking at the map, I can see that there are still many streets I have not seen, but keeping those maps helps to ‘complete the grid’ eventually. What I really liked where those lacquer TinTin covers. I had seen them once before in an art gallery in Turin, for a lot of money … here they are cheap on comparison.

There is something to see everywhere, weird growing trees in buildings, strange toys, of course the usual arrangement of touristy souvenirs, there are several shops selling propaganda art work. Somehow I managed though not buying anything (just yet). I asked for one pair of shoes price and was shocked by the very obvious tourist rip off price.

This is a first test of a new gallery plugin which I installed, you can click each thumbnail for a bigger image.

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