In the streets mainly. But sometimes they’re in the streets after a day’s work.
Building sites, roadworks, market stalls, rice paddies: women were everywhere, working from early morning till late. Along the hiking trails in Northern Vietnam too, I saw far more women than men, and learned that they walk dozens of kilometres daily in the hope of selling some of their handmade goods.
First night in Mai Chau, spent in a wooden stilt house. Beautiful and rustic but bloomin freezing! Rice wine helps you sleep though! Washing involved a bit of keep fit. Nice tea cosy: a hollowed-out coconut.
In the Yen Mo district. Was it just my impression or is most of the sheer physical labour and commerce in Vietnam done by the women?
In the Yen Mo district of Ninh Binh
Ha Long Bay is made up of countless limestone islets, some of which are huge. According to legend, these islets were formed when the gods sent dragons to help Vietnam to defend itself against attacks. These dragons spat out jade and jewels which then turned into the numerous rocky formations around the bay, preventing potential invaders from gaining ground.
The guide books tell you that Hanoi’s hotel staff pester you to buy their tours. Not true of the peaceful place where I stayed, just a couple of streets south of Hoan Kiem Lake. All I saw and heard were smiles and greetings in Vietnamese, with a word or two of French and English here and there – enough to pay the bill and work out that the wifi connection was an off-on affair.