Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Saturday - Last Full Day

Bang! Clang! Clang! Clang!  BANG! Clang! Clang! Clang!  My sleep is broken by the ringing of the Cathedral bells at 5:30 AM (They've messed up daylight savings time here as it also gets dark at 5:30 PM)!  The sun is shining between the high rise buildings directly through my sheer shades.  Feels like I'll have to be satisfied with another night of five hours of sleep.  At least today we won't have a full day of meetings, so I won't have to be totally alert.  In fact, we've planned a day of cultural exposure... site seeing.
We traveled to Bat Trang, a village on the edge of Hanoi that is known for producing ceramics.  Bat Trang is  about fifteen blocks long and wide.  Seemed like every shop in town either made or sold ceramics.  The variety was amazing.

Excuse me for being a novice at adding pictures via my iPad.
Besides the ceramic village we saw the Museum of Cultural Diversity - there are 54 different ethnic groups in Vietnam, but the Viet make up 85% of the total population.
Also did a paid tour of the city and then walked around the old part of town. Every 15 feet there's another store front. Many of the store owners live in the back of the store and merely draw a curtain to close off their bed during the day.  Other store owners live in relative luxury by having a room in the back or upstairs.  Though none of the stores are air-conditioned, so living conditions are difficult in more ways than just lack of space.  I don't have any pictures of the smaller stores.  The ceramic stores pictured here are not normal as they are located in a village dedicated to tourists.

This is a typical side street in Hanoi with stores, but no outside restaurants.  The patrons of outside restaurants generally are sitting on stools about twelve inches high and take up all the space between the building and the curb, so people walking have to use the street.  Locals probably navigate that scenario better than we did as we were always being honked at.
 Notice all the electric wiring.  None of it is underground.

There will be one blog after this one.

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