a hanoi street hawker

I look at my watch, put down my coffee and answer the ringing phone that is hanging on the wall. I smile, this early in the morning the phone can mean only one thing.
I was met the evening before at Hanoi airport by my friend and colleague Phong. As he greets me in the meeting area the mischievous smile that accentuates his boyish good looks flickers across his face, I laugh and we embrace; “hello my brother” he says, “bia hoi?” An hour later we sit perched on low plastic stools on the pavement drinking the light quaffable beer that is freshly brewed daily and is responsible for the re-hydration of millions of Vietnamese . As we talk I watch a man pull up on his little motorbike, he is handed a glass of bia hoi which he guzzles down without even leaving his machine. He hands over a small sum of money and disappears into the teaming throng of similar machines that are an intrinsic part of Hanoi’s bustling chaos. “My wife, she is now at 40 weeks, the baby must come very soon”. Phong’s look is momentarily serious, and then that smile flickers across his face and I laugh. “I must go home now, David, I will see you tomorrow for lunch”

I put the phone to my ear “Good morning Phong” “David, I got home last night at eleven, at one my wife felt some pain, at one thirty our son was born”.
I am very happy for Phong, his family is complete, a lovely wife, a daughter and now a son. Congratulations my friend, congratulations Ngoc.


one of the few asian countries to use the roman alphabet.

street sellers will work all hours to sell just a few oranges

tidy streets

typical street restaurant, the stools are only a foot high

french style restaurants are far from rare

colonial church

the vietnam flag

bia hoi and I



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