An early morning walk through Hanoi’s old quarter (when we were there on holiday in July) made for great photo opportunities. Scooters with whole families bound for school and work raced down the narrow streets. Sellers of flowers, freshly picked fruit and vegetables, chickens, eggs, and many other things arrived from the countryside to offer their wares.
The pineapple seller in the last photo cheated me of money and at the same time gave me a memorable experience. While I was kindly trying to let her know that I wanted my change (or it would be the most expensive pineapple in all of South East Asia), a small crowd gathered around us. I shrugged and wanted to let her go, we were after all discussing something in the range of 5 USD. But one elderly gentleman was so upset on my behalf that he yelled at Ms. Pineapple until she scarpered, then apologised profusely on behalf of the Vietnamese people. He offered to personally give me the money I had been cheated of. When I declined, he insisted on buying me a cup of Vietnamese coffee at the tiny café where he had been sitting until the commotion. He was from Saigon (NOT Ho Chi Ming City) and his English was excellent. Over the next half hour I learned quite a few things about the difference between North and South Vietnam–the incident with Ms. Pineapple was inconceivable in the South according to my companion–and enjoyed an excellent cup of coffee.