First impression of Hanoi

I’m writing this after barely 24 hours in the city, so I haven’t really gotten anything else than a first impression of the capital city of Vietnam, but this far I like the city. I think. It has the busy city vibe as you would expect, but at the same time it’s different from any capital city I’ve been in. Maybe it’s because I’ve been mostly in the old quarters or at tourist spots, but this city feels old and not really caught up in the modern era (good and bad) as Bangkok or Vientiane. I don’t even know how to explain the feeling properly…

Something that I can explain is my hatred for the traffic here. My god it’s terrible! There are honking cars and motorcycles everywhere! During my short time here I have learned that there are three different types of honks. First there’s the “you’re in the way” honk, then the “coming through” honk which is used instead of indicators when turning, and lastly there’s the “IDIOT!” honk. I really do hate traffic…

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Onto something I like: the physical activity. Even if the traffic makes it difficult (not impossible) to walk I don’t think I’ve seen so many people out exercising before. Children and parents playing badminton on the sidewalk, teens playing football or skating in the park and people of all ages running in front of the Ho Chi Minh monument. Apart from the positive public health factor it also gives the city a sense of calm.

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They have free wifi everywhere, but are lacking in the coffee department. I’ll never again order “black hot coffee” though, I’ll stick with americanos here…

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