- Ignore all calls of "motorbike", "moto", "cyclo", "lychee" or "hat" - these are all things you will be offered several times a minute. Therefore any eye contact, never mind a simple "no thank-you" to each offer will just result in a doubling of your journey time.
- Using the "imaginary" pavement. In theory there is a real one, but in practice that's where people park their mopeds. The imaginary one is the first 75cm of clear road. The mopeds screaming past at 30-40 mph will avoid you - but only if you beleive in it's existence.
- Use of the "imaginary" zebra crossing. It doesn't really matter if you find a real one, even with a green man, they work exactly the same as the imaginary ones as the traffic doesn't stop anyway. Just face the oncoming traffic, beleive in the imaginary crossing and confidently walk across at a constant pace - the traffic will just move around you. If you lose confidence and stop or change your pace the traffic will somehow lose it's ability to avoid you.
Once these skills were mastered, we found Hanoi's Old Quarter a very pleasant place to spend a few days - incredibly cheap shopping, great food with the added novetly of vegetables (a little scarce in Chinese restaurant dishes), and our cultural activity of the week, the very wierd Vietnamese Water Puppet Theater.
Once again we proved that luck can be a better servant than informed planning - our visit to Hanoi conincided with the Quarter Final of the Asia Cup, the game between Australia and Japan being billed as the game of the tournament.
Armed with a ticket procured on the black market I headed out to the brand new "My Dinh" National Stadium in the scorching late afternoon heat. The journey in itself was almost as memorable as the game - my taxi had no less than 7 different horns, all of which the driver seemed intent on wearing out in order to cut a path through the sea of scooters during the 40 minute journey.
The game itself was pretty entertaining and at 1-1 following extra time it went to penalties. I think the writing was on the wall when a rather unfit looking Harry Kewell missed the opening penalty for Australia, and so Japan made it through to the semi-finals.
Back in town we went for one last meal of "roll-your-own" rice paper spring rolls filled with caramel beef and fresh herbs, all washed down with 640ml bottles of ice-cold Tiger Beer for just $1 ... rather predicatably, we think Hanoi rocks!
You can see the photos from Hanoi here