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Page 9

Woman to right of sign is bending over empty buckets and containers. to here left is a chair and a stack of small plastic stools.


The life of a street in the city.

Many streets lead double and triple lives. 

In this picture above you see a woman cleaning up her items for the day and getting them ready to load into a handcart, which she has not yet brought onto the scene. It is about 4 p.m. She began the day by unloading these items and setting them up to be able to begin serving coffee and baked potatoes to her morning breakfast regulars when they begin arriving at about 6 a.m. Under the nón lá (straw conical hat) are about 15 small plastic stools that she will spread out in front of the brown chair for people to sit on. The black tube to the right of the chair is a tobacco pipe she will provide to her customers (she also sells tobacco…blog coming on that topic later). The brown chair is her chair to sit on during the day. The white shelf in front of her face (on the wall) is where she will stack bottles of water, energy drinks, and some small items like packs of cigarettes or snacks.  After breakfast she will open her "trà đá" (ice tea) business and start selling cold tea, which she will do until 3:30-ish. 

The yellow sign with red and blue letters is not hers. Nor is the sign on the wall that says “Ngọc Béo Lẩu Nướng”. The sign belongs to the next business that will set up when she moves her things out. It will be a street food (topic for another blog) restaurant that sells hot pot and grilled food (Lẩu & Nướng). I believe "Ngọc Béo" is the businesses name as in "Ngọc Béo's hot pot and grilled food". If you look closely at the sign, on the edges, about half way up, the yellow coloring has been worn off from hands grabbing hold and moving the sign.

Picture of four green plastic tables in a row along the same wall with small green stools for sitting and a hot pot heater and a basket of chopsticks on each table.

In this picture above, the next business has set up for the evening shift. Note on the right side of the picture is the yellow sign, now plugged in so people will see it. To the left of that sign is a piece of foam insulation that is about 4 feet by 8 feet that is set there on purpose as a rival hotpot and grill will set up there (see below). The black tarp on the wall above the  Lẩu Nướng sign will be furled out and propped up with sticks if it begins to rain during the evening. The hot pots will be heated by lighting a fuel cell and putting it under the pot to be boiled. Interestingly the chopsticks in the yellow basket are the disposable bamboo kind you find in any restaurant in the US. I've not see these used too frequently in Hanoi. Most places use the same ones over and over.   

Picture of many walking in front of two blue tables iwth brown stools that have a hot pot on them. There is spray painted graffiti on on the wall to the right of the man that has letters and a face.

In the picture above is the competition setting up for the evening shift. This is Thuy Linh's hot pot and grill. Thuy Linh sells "Lẩu nướng các loại" - "hot pot and grill of all kind" (noted on the black sign with yellow letters) - not just plain old hot pot and grill like the competition. The yellow and red sign also let's potential customers that they also sell draft Saigon Beer and other drinks. These businesses will close around 11 pm and both have their regular set of customers.



JULY, p. 9

AUGUST, p. 9

SEPTEMBER,  p. 2 , p. 3, p. 4, p.5 , p.6, p. 7, p. 8, p. 10