Hanoi, Vietnam, The First Time In Fourteen Years

I visited Hanoi from 22 through 26.  It’s been fourteen years since I visited there last time but nothing much has changed except for more highways were constructed.  Maybe there are more modern buildings but the life of the people there seemed to be the same as before. 


Even inside the city of Hanoi, traffic lights are only for big traffic intersections.  Also, there are more motorbikes than cars.  Those motorbikes don’t stop at intersections but just slow down a bit to pass over pedestrians, cars, and other motorbikes.  It’s just a wonderful skill that people of Hanoi has.  Usually, two persons are on the bikes and sometimes I saw a family of a father, mother and two children on the same bike.  Legally, a family of four, I heard from a tour guide, is allowed for one motorbike.  Furthermore, there seems to be no legal limit or regulations on how much baggage or piles of goods for bicycles and motorbikes. 


Drivers of cars, trucks, and motorbikes always want to beep the horn at anytime, which makes the town very noisy from early morning until late at night.  In sidewalk which is supposed to be for pedestrians are packed with motorbikes and goods that are sold at local shops.  Furthermore, customers in local restaurants are eating outside at tables on sidewalks.  They eat outside close to a road that is not clean but full of dust!


The tour guide told us to dine in a proper place such as a hotel or a restaurant for tourists or expats.  Otherwise, he said, we’ll get sick.  Beside this, I thought it’s not possible to enjoy the food outside with dust, emission gas and noisy beeps all the time, I decided to dine in a hotel or a few western style café that should be very luxurious place for locals.


I wondered why the life of the people here could not be improved so much for the past fourteen years.  One reason, I thought, might be lack of electric supply for modern industries to get activated as necessary.  Then I came across a professor from Japan at the hotel lobby, who was teaching at Hanoi University of Science and Technology for a three-week special lecture.  Later I found out that the lecture was about Nuclear Power Generation (http://www.ne.titech.ac.jp/jinzai-hitachi/).


As there are less business opportunities in Japan and Europe after the great earthquake on March 11 in Japan, I understand that those companies growing with nuclear power constructions have to go one of the developing countries that do not have enough infrastructure of power supply.  However, I strongly hope that they would find a different way for sustainable growth through a paradigm shift as soon as possible.

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