Another morning and I wake around 6:30am. I walk to the front of our apartment where I slide open the glass doors and let the morning noise, heat and smell flow into the room. As Zack heads out the front door I brew a fresh pot of tea and sit on our small balcony to observe the early morning rush of life on Tran Phu street below. Earlier last month, when we were still suffering jet lag, I would stare out our window at 5:30am, watching the hundreds of early risers beginning their day. Even now, I am amazed when the street is busy at 7am on a Sunday. At a time when the majority of Washingtonians or Melburnians would still be sounds asleep, Hanoians seem ready and raring (literally in the case of the scooters) to go. I recently came across an old blog entitled The City That Never Sleeps In, a title which seems only fitting for the city the author was writing about.
Perhaps it is because we have only been here a month and have not yet tired of the incessant honking, yelling and air pollution, but I enjoy our balcony and the sights and sounds it affords me. Every morning I see an old man, crippled with old age, slowly making his way. To where? I have no idea. He is accompanied by a young women, perhaps his granddaughter, who walks patiently beside him, a cloth mask protecting her mouth a nose from the car fumes. People ride past carrying an array of different materials; baskets of flowers on the backs of push bikes, some so large they threaten to conceal the rider; loads of pineapples that look so heavy I don’t know how the old women manage; even the occasional piece of miscellaneous building material stretching five times the length of the bike.
This morning I read a great blog post from a fellow Tran Phu admirer (the street rather than the person) that shares a bit of history and many more great photos. After spending the first part of my morning observing, I descend down to street level and become a participator rather than a spectator… although not a scooter… chưa (not yet!).