Saturday, July 05, 2008

Adapting to Hanoi’s Summer

Bang Lang flowers

Summer is well and truly here. You can hear the cicadas in the trees. Along most of the streets in Hanoi these days, you can see the beautiful Flamboyant flowers. The hand fans are waving and the storm clouds are threatening. The temperature is on the rise forcing Hanoians to the lakesides and the streets in the evenings trying to get some breeze. Young boys drive their motorbikes around to have a good look at girls. Ice cream and sugarcane juice outlets are doing a roaring trade.

Summer rain

It’s all about staying cool in the brutal Hanoi summer. While the red and purple flowers make Hanoi look beautiful and signal the beginning of the school holidays, it is also a sign that it’s time to adapt. There will be no more cool days until October. One of the most noticeable ways that Hanoians adapt is in the wardrobe department and that doesn’t mean they wear less clothes. They wear more! Avoiding the searing sunshine is a priority, especially for the local women. A range of uniquely designed shirts which tie around the head have been all the rage these past few summers. Long gloves and the newly invented helmet rings complete the look.


Driving habits change, too. Motorcyclists do not stop at the traffic lights but instead 25 or 50 metres back from them – under the shade of a tree. It seems that half a minute stopped still in the open sun is too much to bear. At other times, motorbikers compete to pull up in the shade of a truck or bus. Motorbike parking attendants, in some locations, cover the seats of the bikes to protect them from the sun and their owners from a nasty burn.

Truc Bach Lake

Finding a breeze on a hot still night requires inside knowledge or an observant eye. Between Truc Bach and West Lake is an all too obvious one, with hundreds of couples getting in their good night kiss in the subtle wind. The breeze from the Red River can be experienced by hanging in the stop zones on Long Bien bridge. The bases of tall buildings like the Sofitel Plaza and by the waterworks on the dyke road are two other favourites.

Beers deliver

A tumbler or two of bia hoi (draught beer) or mia da (sugar cane juice with ice) will give an instantaneous chill.

If all else fails, seek air-conditioned comfort!


FooDcrazEE said...

40 degree is ok ? u crazy ?

try the lemongrass drink with mint . . .delish

8 stalks of crush lemongrass to 6 litre of water. boiled till flavour is out and add sugar to taste. Chilled . Add a sprig or two of mint leave into glass when pouring to serve

Thuy said...

mmm! sugar cane juice. Love it! Also, limenade.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great pics. I am afraid of Bangkok's heat. I'll be moving there at the end of the month, and well, I'm sure I'll be escaping to Hanoi during the fall and winter as often as possible :)

unitedlove-forall said...

Hi Tu,

Will the weather still be that hot in August ?

I will be in Hanoi from 11-14 August.

Catch up with you then.



D said...

Man.. 40Deg is hot! And I'm sure the downpours will only add to the humidity =S. Then again, rain every now and then is good to clear up the air

hokutsubameko said...

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go_jeng said...

finally i got time to read and cmt ur blog
found it when i was googling sth !^^
and it thought it would be really cool to find a vietnamese blog(in good english!) which is not hosted in yahoo 360°

so i like this post of yours, a very nice + funny describing of the summer in hanoi. well i think vietnamese get crazier and crazier !^^

so... i drop by again,
keep it up !^^

Van Cong Tu said...

Hi all, thanks for all comments

unitedlove-forall, The weather will be hot and hummit.

Canary said...

The pictures make the place look so pretty!
And this is as bad as the Delhi heat where I live :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

great pictures....nuoc mia yummmmm