18 Things I learned about Hanoi in 2 weeks
Embrace the chaos. You'll go crazier trying to avoid it.
There are no rules of the road. As a pedestrian, the only way to cross the street is just start walking and trust the drivers will go around you.
You can't visit Hanoi without trying egg coffee.
Or bún chả.
Or bánh mi.
$2,000,000 VND is $86 USD. Congrats, you're an instant billionaire.
The D isn't for 'dollar'. It stands for 'dong.' Yes, you can laugh. We do.
Honking in Hanoi means more, "Hey, here I am, watch out for me" than "get the hell out of my way, peasant."
The humidity is constantly at least 85%. There is no such thing as not being sweaty at any given moment.
Despite the unbearable humidity, many locals wear long pants, shirts, and hats to avoid sun exposure because dark/tanned skin is a status symbol of the lower class day laborers. Light skin is so desirable, bleaching agents are commonly found in beauty products.
In August, it rains pretty much every day. Thankfully, it's usually only for 10 - 20 minutes at one go.
When it does actually storm, August is monsoon season. That means bed-shaking thunder and instant flash flooding.
Streets are typically named after what the stores on the street sell: Hardware Street, Toy Street, etc.
Pigeon tastes an awful lot like chicken.
Dating for young people in Hanoi is, unsurprisingly, vastly different than in the US. Holding hands is considered a symbol of an exclusive relationship and typically doesn't happen for the first time until a year after initial interest is established. The first hug can be up to a year after that. Forget about a first kiss.
I'm 5'6 on a good day and am usually one of the tallest people walking down the street. If anyone is taller, it's usually a man. I have never seen a Vietnamese women taller than me.
Staring isn't considered as rude as it is in the US, and boy, are Vietnamese people are fascinated with tourists. Especially if you "look' American or European, prepare to have all eyes on you everywhere you go.
The more adorable side of that coin is the children who stop dead in their tracks to excitedly shout, "Hello!" to me in English as I pass. It's super sweet.