Night Markets and Things I Don’t Need

So I first realized that I might have done this a few days ago, but today it’s been confirmed: I left my camera in the U.S. AWESOME. I only moved to another country over 8,000 miles away. Why not leave my camera? Aarg. 

That just means that you’ll have a few more days (weeks?) of iPhone 3 pictures.

I live on an incredibly exciting (busy) street in Hanoi’s city center, in the  ”Old Quarter”, which has been around since the 13th century. At one time, each of the streets’ names corresponded with what could be found on that street. Everything could be bought here: silver, cotton, charcoal, tin, paper, combs, sails. The street I live on used to sell silk, but today it’s better known for selling clothing. The Old Quarter in Hanoi is chaotic, with hundreds of motorbikes, taxis, people selling all sorts of goods and a few tourists here and there. 

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I’ve shown you a similar picture before, but I want to compare day vs night.

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At night, my entire street turns into an open-air, pedestrian only (kind of ) market filled with clothing, shoes, toys, jewelry, decorative items and many other items that I don’t really need. 

The Old Quarter is rather touristy, so I’m pretty sure that’s the reason the night market is held on my street. Makes exploring easier, but it also means the market is fairly overpriced. 

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These are pretty awesome. I’m not sure what I would do with a beaded flower or bear, but I should probably get one. 

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YES. I want all of these. Especially the sheep. I don’t think I can keep myself from buying one next time. 

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This is not actually a stall at the night market, but a nearby shop. Need any balloons? 

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Just for good measure I’ll add a (blurry) picture of food again. I don’t know what this is. It looks like an egg here, but it’s not. I think the base is gelatinized rice and there are croutons. That’s all I know. 

First post!

I decided it was time my blog moved to a different platform and had its own domain name.For now, I figure I’ll keep pretty much the same content both here and on my tumblr, but eventually I hope to primarily just post pictures there.  Any thoughts? The most exciting thing is that you can now leave comments! You no longer need to be a member to leave them. Suggestions and requests are most definitely welcome, and I’ll do my best to meet those. Anyway, here’s to my “new” blog and new adventures! Make sure you tell your friends to check it out!

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I just spent 30 minutes on this post, but Tumblr decided to update itself in the middle of my writing so it didn’t get saved. Annoying.

Anyway, it’s been a productive week, only helped by the fact that I’m awoken every morning at 8am(or earlier) by loudspeakers. My biggest accomplishment has definitely been learning to cross the road by myself(woo!). I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered this skill, but it’s definitely getting there. I’ve also had two Vietnamese lessons. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing well, and other times I just feel like I’m making random sounds (Listen to the Vietnamese alphabet here.) My personal favorite sound is ng, which I don’t seem to have the ability to make. 

I’ve been gathering lots of pictures of tasty food, things sold at markets that I don’t need and some tourist attractions, but I don’t feel organized enough at the moment to create an actual post. So for now, here are some pictures of my apartment. 

I live on the second floor (first floor European) and I have a balcony! Yay! I would say this is a pretty typical house for Vietnam. Tall and skinny. 

This is the first floor/entry way to the building/occasional motorbike parking area. My landlady lives on this floor. 

Sorry this picture is such poor quality. This what you see when you walk into my apartment. 

My kitchen. Still don’t have microwave and I have one less burner than I did last year. I only have one saucepan though so I guess that doesn’t really matter. 

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Balcony that faces another building/”courtyard” with no grass. But I have a balcony! 

Bonus picture: a piece of jellyfish from this jellyfish salad. I didn’t actually try it though, so I can’t tell you what it tastes like!

I’m at my new (temporary?) apartment in Hanoi! So far I can’t say I’ve done much. What I can tell you is that after a night of unrestful, jetlagged sleep, I was awoken by several  entertaining (for now) happenings:

1: A rooster. At 5:30 in the morning. Perfect! I won’t ever need an alarm clock here. I’ve heard it’s better to wake up naturally anyway, though I’m not quite sure whoever said that meant the alarm clock itself should be natural…

2. Motorbikes. I was expecting this. Just take a look at this Google image search of traffic in Hanoi and you’ll see why. For the record, traffic does not last all night. I know this because I was up from about 3:30 to 4:30 this morning (thanks, jet-lag!) and only heard the occasional motorbike. 

3. Loudspeakers. Around 7 this morning, a loud, 80s style Vietnamese song floated in through my window. I’ve read that the loudspeakers around the city give announcements, but I’m fairly certain this was just music. Of course, I guess I wouldn’t know if they were in fact singing the announcements. 

4. A megaphone. Between the melodious sounds of morning announcements, someone was shouting through a megaphone. Once again, no idea why. What’s amazing though is as I’m writing this, someone has started to shout announcements again. Perfect timing! Must be telling me it’s time for bed. Here’s to a night of uninterrupted (that means you, jet-lag) sleep.! At least until the rooster crows. 

I’ll leave you with a picture of my new neighborhood:

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And this:

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Some “fresh tea” flavored mouthwash I found at the supermarket. I’ll have to try that..

Well, I’m sitting in the in the airport in Teipei, Taiwan waiting for my flight to Hanoi. I occasionally have moments of “I’m moving to Vietnam!?!?”, but for the most part I just feel like I’m on vacation.  The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has proved to be rather entertaining. I’ve seen an exhibit on indigenous people of Taiwan, a collection of wire sculptures and tons of Hello Kitty. I’ve been here before, but only remember sitting in a waiting area. That’s probably because I didn’t sleep at ALL on that 14 and a half hour flight! (I slept nine hours on this one!) Anyway, as long as I’m here, I thought I’d share a few of the more interesting sites in the airport.

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 What time is it? Hello Kitty time!

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Life-size robot sculpture

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Orchid display

You are about to be bombarded with photos of barbie dolls. There was a display of dolls representing the countries of the world. I found it rather entertaining, especially the doll representing the USA. 

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Denmark. The description says something about  versatile clothing that is both fashionable and suitable for cycling. I’m not so sure I would wear a giant feather boa while riding my bike.

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The Austrian! The description says “Austria is a natural-loving nation. A simple shirt, flare skirt and a pure white apron can show its humble folk styles and the delicacy of their life.”

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Can you guess who she represents? That’s right, the American! Description: “It is a commonly seen classic American gown. Pink is the main color of the gown. The floral adornments on the neck, chest and its lower hem give people the impression of purity and sweetness.” Can’t say I ever owned a gown like this…


While in Santa Cruz, I stopped by Natural Bridges State Beach, which is another one of my favorite spots in the city. I was itching for a hike so I decided to check out the short, one-mile trail the park had. Luckily for me, the park is an excellent location to spot monarch butterflies! The monarchs migrate from the North and come to rest in Santa Cruz in the winter. There were more monarchs than I had ever seen in one place before; it was truly an incredible site. Unfortunately for you, I don’t have the world’s more impressive camera, so I had some difficulty capturing all of this, but I tried!

(Not bad, right?)

The hike (more of a walk) began with a boardwalk. The most butterflies were located in this area. 

View of the beach from the hiking trail. 

Next stop-Santa Cruz. One of my favorite restaurants ever is Saturn Café in Santa Cruz. I first visited this vegetarian restaurant about five years ago and have gone back as many times as possible since then. Saturn Café first opened in Santa Cruz in 1979, and continues to offer up some amazing vegetarian and vegan food and is also involved with helping out different organizations within the community. 

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BBQ Ranch “Chicken” Burger and fries. Delicious. 

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Pumpkin ice cream pie. Covered in chocolate fudge sauce. YES.