Fireworks in Hanoi

The last time I visited Hanoi, we had come back from a side trip to Halong Bay, a most magnificent place that I will post about in the future. We spent the day touring the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area, seeing the homes he lived in and the One Pillar Pagoda. After a cyclo ride around the old town,

Two cyclos in Hanoi

Two cyclos in Hanoi

we transported our people to a small hotel to have a chance for a shower and change of clothes before dinner and the overnight train to Lao Cai. After everyone was settled in their rooms or decided to take walks, I stayed in the lobby to get the address of the restaurant where we were to eat that night. I was then to take all of our equipment (pots, woks, cooking implements, knives, cutting boards, dishes, silverware, etc.) to the restaurant and work on the cooking of dinner.

As I stood in the lobby, all of a sudden, I saw a flash of sparks. It was already getting dark and it looked like nothing so much as fireworks. I looked to see where it was coming from. It was coming from the top of a utility pole down the block from the hotel. It was sparking like a giant cake decoration sparkler. I turned to the desk clerk and said, “Maybe you ought to call the electric company.” She just stood there. I said to my English speaking Vietnamese guide (we always have a local English speaking guide with us), “Perhaps she didn’t understand; the electric pole is sparking (everyone could see that– people in the street had stopped to watch) and if someone doesn’t come, it could make all of the power in the area go out.” He went to the desk clerk and she again did nothing.

By then, it was time for me to go to the restaurant, about a fifteen minute drive away. My guide stayed to load people onto the bus and bring them later to the restaurant.

The people at the restaurant were lovely and cooperative, something that we found to be true of every place we prepared food in Vietnam and Cambodia. They had the fresh fruits and vegetables waiting for me and the whole fish ready for my inspection. Although it was a busy kitchen, they set aside an adequate area covered with tinfoil for preparation of our food completely separate from the other food that was being prepared that evening.

When our people arrived about an hour later, they came with their story of an adventure: they had just gotten to the lobby and were about to leave when all of the lights went out– in the hotel, in the shops nearby, in the streets. Fortunately, they just proceeded to the bus, but they left the entire neighborhood in the dark.


  1. I want one of those hats!

  2. Perry blatt says

    They sell the hats at canadas wonderland!!!!

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