It’s planned. It’s gotta be a plan. Organized inconsistency. Organized chaos.  Organized confusion.  Whatever you want to call it, only the Vietnamese are in on it.  They are the organizers!  If they’re not in on it, how could they function in their daily lives?

Okay, so….You’re in your neighborhood and you figure, “I’ll just walk around this block and come right back here where I started.  I’ll check out what’s in my immediate neighborhood ……get a little familiarized….”  So you start walking…..you hang a left, check out the sights….hang the next left, take a picture or two….hang another left – you’re almost ‘home’…..hang that last left and…..you don’t know where the hell you are.  You are completely lost.  You should be back where you started.  Are you?  Hell, no.

Either there’s no such thing as a ‘block’ here in Hanoi or the streets shift.  I’m going with the shifting streets…..and there’s purpose to it.  That’s what I mean when I say ‘organized’.  Here’s how it works……if I, as a foreigner, am walking around in this city and I get lost, there’s more chance that I’ll stop in somewhere to take a break, get out of the heat and have a ca phe sur da.  More street vendors will have a chance to tempt me with their wares….getting the picture?  It’s gotta be a plan….or magic….yeah, that’s it.

Well, anyway, as I’ve been out and about getting completely lost, befuddled, bewildered and flummoxed, I’ve taken a few pictures:


This was the sweetest young man.  He is deaf and is selling hand crafted goods to earn his living.  I know some American Sign Language and (at least at the time we spoke) pretty much zero Vietnamese, so we communicated in Sign Language.  I don’t want to buy a lot of souvenirs, but I had to buy something from him.  Such a cutie.



Now, the pineapple girls on the other hand…..  No, actually, they’re just shrewd business women.  These girls can work an angle and they team up for added foreigner confusion enhancement….so, said ‘newbie’ foreigner ends up paying a hell of a lot more for a chunk of pineapple than they would ever dream of doing….and I did…


I generally don’t like to take a picture of someone unless I get their permission, but I couldn’t help myself.  This woman was just so tiny!  She’s barely taller than the woman she’s walking by who’s sitting down!



People were looking at me like I was nuts when I was taking this picture.  I don’t know, maybe I am.  I just appreciate good woodwork.  See, all around the city at the street food stands, there’ll be these little plastic stools that you sit on to eat.  No problem – they’re very convenient….but they’re plastic.  Practical, but ugly.  I think this stool has probably been around for, I don’t know, maybe 50 years or so.  This is a pre-plastic stool for a street food stand…..and it’s lasted all these years.  It may not be a finely carved piece of furniture, but it’s a sturdy little thing….and I appreciate that.

No idea what this building is.  There is so much architecture here I would love to photograph.  It’s been hectic….got some changes coming up – maybe another move.  Not sure yet.  Anyway, it’ll be nice to ‘settle down’….whatever that means….and have some time to stroll around and take some more pictures.

Oh, one more……


Hee hee!


I wonder if he ever shows up and sings Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”…….I’m there!




4 thoughts on “Discombobulation

  1. it all sounds so exciting and a bit scary! you can tell youre an american Jan – the left left left thing doesnt work in UK cities and towns either. :o) how is the job hunting? how about a picture of you?


  2. Had to LOL @ “Are you back where you started? Hell, no.”, as well as Sarah’s “you can tell you’re an American”. 🙂 Also, yeah! Jan, your pictures are lovely, but we need some lovely Jan in there too. 😉

    Miss you, friend. I’m really enjoying your blog adventures.


  3. Loving the ‘Hanoi Jan’ take on the city. Really painting a picture. Looking forward to more daily entries.
    Happy trails!


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