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Hanoi: Day 3

We had no scheduled tour events, so we just wandered around on our own. We ate at one streetside food stall, by which I mean a spot on the sidewalk where someone has a pot of charcoal set up so they can cook some soup or meat. Tiny stools only a foot or so high surround small tables that aren’t much higher. It was pretty delicious. The woman’s reputation was apparently good, because as we ate, a constant stream of customers was being churned through the small operation.

We also visited the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, better known to Americans as the Hanoi Hilton. Most of it was destroyed to build a massive hotel (not a Hilton, unfortunately), but you get a good enough impression of what the prison was like from what remains.

The amount of poverty is pretty striking. People are on the sidewalks or roaming around trying to sell anything. It’s pathetically heartbreaking. How desperate do you have to be to walk around trying to sell packs of gum? Nobody’s going to buy gum from some random old woman on the street.

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