What Is It?? Round VII – Official Results

While we thought this was a tricky one and wanted to give all of our loyal readers a chance to chime in, it turns out that the winning response was submitted less than nine hours after the original posting. This round’s congratulations goes to Dani! As her research proves, these are the phone numbers of concrete drillers offering their services. So if you’re interested in a good Skype prank-call, one of these may be a good choice.

We learned a lot about our readers this round as we saw guesses roll in related to gangs, “professional women,” and illegal business. It’s not that these activities do not occur, but they are advertised in different ways.

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Rules of the road in Hanoi

See our gallery of photos tagged with “hanoi”.

Here’s a short video that Abby took from an intersection in Hanoi. We both think it’s a great example of the crazy street traffic in Hanoi, since it captures so many elements:

  • There’s a man crossing the street. Since traffic in Hanoi rarely stops, his method is the only way to do it — slow and steady.
  • A short parade of cyclos drives by. This is a common way for tourists to get around, however it can be a little nerve wracking given the lack of driving rules.
  • Near the end of the video, a woman walks by carrying baskets of fruit hanging from a wooden beam strung across her shoulder. Again, very typical.
  • You can hear bike bells ringing in the background. Many of these are from cyclo drivers offering us rides.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=63881

Oh boy! Hanoi!

See our gallery of photos tagged with “hanoi”.

We have been in Vietnam for less than 24 hours now, and are extremely excited for the next eight days that we will spend here. We are in Hanoi for two nights, staying in the heart of the Old Quarter, which is a bustling, vibrant neighborhood that is absolutely packed with people and motorbikes. I’m amazed to report that the streets of Hanoi (at least in the city center) have even more frenetic traffic patterns than what we saw in Bangkok and Bali. The key seems to be slow and steady and just go for it — applying to motorbikes, cyclos, and pedestrians. I’ll try to get a video that illustrates the madness in real time.

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Vietnamese food is probably my very favorite cuisine, so I have been eagerly anticipating our food experiences here and they have already been outstanding. I had my favorite rice noodle salad yesterday that came with barbeque pork patties — a Hanoi specialty — as well as a fantastic banana fritter with chocolate sauce for desert.

We also walked around Hoan Kiem Lake, which sits in the heart of Hanoi, and enjoyed watching all of the people walking, meditating, and peacefully sitting together at the lake’s edge. We agreed that most other parts of the world that we have seen on this trip have America beat in terms of knowing how to relax. We hope to take some of that home with us.

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P.S.
During our taxi ride from the airport into town, we saw a motorbike transporting a full pig carcass. It was draped over the main body of the bike. Although we have no photo (probably a good thing) that is our new top motorbike transport sight.