Doris, my former colleague from National Food Administration in Sweden ,and her husband visited us when they travelled in Viet Nam. It was really fun to meet somebody from my working days. They had a very busy schedule but they took time off from the group they where traveling with, to meet us. We enjoyd a nice lunch and then we took them to the alleys around Kim Ma and Doi Can. It was not something they normally do with the travel group. They said they enjoyd it much. I keep my fingers crossed for more visitors from work, it was really fun.
It is so fascinating to walk the alleys of Hanoi. They are numerous, crowded and trafficked. Sometimes it is so narrow that sunlight can not penetrate. Above street level the houses are stretched out and they almost touches the house across the alley. The top floors are in some places just 30 cm away from each other.

The traffic consists of bicycles and motorcycles and the drivers honk all the time to alert pedestrians and other drivers around the corner. I can imagine that during rush hour there are accidents. Its a lot of scratches and damage on the walls at the corners. I am convinced that it is from the motorcycles crashing into the wall.

During my first weeks I got lost all the time. If you give it some time and learn to find your way you will discover amazing things. All of a sudden the narrow alleys opens up and there is a crowded market place with vegetables, meat and fish in every shape you can imagine. And its fresh to. Fish and shrimps splash around in pods and hens cluck in their cages unaware that they are about to be slaughtered.

For those who do not like big open spaces, it is ideal to live here ( This is not to recommend for Ulf Lundell). Most things can be arranged and purchased here. You do not need to leave the alleys. So far, I have seen hairdressers, restaurants, cafes, shops, tailors, massage therapists, dentists, watchmakers, blacksmith, garages and repairshops of all kinds. You name it, its probably there just around the corner.

See more pictures - click on "read more" to your right.