I spent my second day in Hanoi exploring the city by foot. Yesterday while cruising through the capital I had noticed how incredibly 'European' the city was (obviously due to the french occupation). It actually reminded me a lot of Rome, with all of it's quirky facades and maze-like streets. Today I decided satisfy my curiosity by investigating these alleys more closely. I discovered that some of the spaces are purely transitional, to take one from the exterior to the interior of the block while others (a bit wider) are actually used as retail space. Some are quite well lit and comfortable while others are dark and intimidating.
Yet another example of how the street becomes a space for socializing and doing business.
During my stroll I stumbled upon this construction site. Once again I was shocked at the sight of women doing the heavy labor. In this particular instance there were four men standing around conversing while this woman (along with two others) were transporting these large steel rods from one location to the next. Along with this women do all of the public sanitation work, like collecting and disposing of trash, municipal lawn care, etc. Interesting...
I found it interesting that the electric poles in Hanoi were made of stacked cinder blocks. Even more interesting is how they become multifunctional (notice how the pole not only supports electric lines but also bottles of beer!)