I love being at the night flower market in Quang An as it's like another small world. I can just sit there looking at young couples hand in hand looking at flowers or people shopping for their retail florists with torches checking out the quality of the flowers. The bargaining also amazes me: recently I saw a person pay $1 for a 100 roses. I do love bargaining not beause I'm stingy but I love playing the game with them and I usually give them a little bit more at the end and see their big smiles. That makes my day.
The many street vendors who come to this market to get flowers then spend another few hours to re organize them before selling them along Hanoi's streets. Watching them is also a highlight as I can see they use their talents to make some ruined flowers look beautiful. They take all the bad leaves and petals off and put plastic or paper around the remaining bud or flower pretending that it's great. They do look good until the paper's been taken off. It's a cheeky practice and I've been caught myself. I've learned my lesson though.
Besides heavy rain which can put a temporary stop to their business in our area, there is another reason that will stop their business. Whenever a dignitary like the president of the US comes to Hanoi they normally stay at the Intercontinental or the Sheraton hotel, which means most commercial street activity has to stop until the visit is over. In fact, when Bush visited a couple of years ago, there was a tank positioned near where the florists normally trade. Recently during the ASEAN conference, the flower vendors went missing for a few days. Of all the street vendors, I hope these street florists remain as long as possible as they add a touch of colour and charm to Hanoi.