What is Hanoi? Part two.
Doi Can Street provides.
Down at street level the sidewalks – pavements are packed
Food stalls spill in to the road where adults sit on kindergarten stools
Food is plentiful and cheap
Everything you would come to expect from a Vietnamese road side
Mi Xao, Banh Cuon, Bun Rieu Ca, Ga, Bo, Tea stores straight from Taiwan
Popeyes chicken, BK, Dominos, Loterria, coffe shops
Coffee shops slinging coffee laced with amphetamines,
Stay out of the Old Quarter if you want good VN cuisine
The street food always lives where the working-class do.
Doi Can st. provides. The two mile stretch I’ve called home.
Our purple, giraffe-skin blanket, all my clothes and shoes
All the food we could ever eat, padlocks, scooters, toys, lottery tickets
Vodka, beers, cabbage, eye-pleasing tropical fruits, karaoke bars,
Artisan Korean ice noodles, a downed B-52 bomber, toolshops, cigarettes,
Brooms, chickens – live chickens, fighting chickens, baby chickens,
Chickens under up-turned beer crates, western bars, Bia Hoi, post offices, online gaming, trees, weed, haircuts and paint.
All this beside a constant stream of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles
But, the cars can only go one way and the trucks blast through
The over-cropping trees that smash branches down
on unsuspecting pedestrians.
You have to watch your step while meandering along Doi Can st.
Burning charcoals and fans with no protective cages sit on the ground next to angry dogs chained to trees.
All the wonderful things to burn, lacerate, bite and infect the careless.
Scooters drive the wrong way down the street so you have to keep your eye on the road at all times. Because the little electric scooters creep up on you and threaten to run you over in silent murder.
You have to learn to weave and see ten paces ahead of you at all times.
Don’t get mad at the elderly lady lazily strolling in front of you.
She’s walking slow because she’s been walking her whole life towards a job
That is undoubtedly a lot worse then any I’ve ever had.