If you had to choose five words to describe Hanoi, what would they be?
Ho Chi Minh was, and still is, a very respected leader in the Vietnamese culture. Every thousands of people from all over Vietnam visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum located in the center of Ba Dinh Square and pay their respects. When Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, his body was sent to Russia to be preserved. It is very impressive to see how many people stand in line for hours just to visit his body and pay respects.
It is very noteworthy that locals are very hard-working. Whether they are business executives, fruit sellers or watch manufacturers, you can see that they are very goal-oriented and achievers.
Many people that work in Hanoi live in small towns outside the city. Every week they go back to their small towns and give their family what they’ve earned. Did you know that the women selling fruits around Hanoi make an approximate of 25 USD a month? Yes, twenty-five.
Of course, every country has its culture! But what makes Vietnam special is that the locals do show their culture on their everyday. Whether they are wearing their conical hat during work or their traditional Vietnamese dresses to get married, I could tell the difference from other cities of the world.
Also, going to a water puppet show is a must when in Vietnam! Yes, like puppets but under the water. Just like any other puppet show, it follows a story line but what makes it special (and very entertaining) is figuring out how this water puppet show really works. Are the actors swimming under the water? Are they going to drown? How long can they hold their breath? Are the puppets attached to a giant pole? If so, how can they move it from that far? These are questions that remain unanswered. Truth it, I never figured it out. But it’s so damn cool!
Motorcycles as primary mode of transportation: Have you ever seen so many people riding a motorcycle at once? Everyone has a motorcycle, everyone.
“There’s so much going on” is what most people will tell you about Hanoi. Indeed, there’s a lot happening all at once but I loved it!