Prowling around not-so-familiar Hanoi neighbourhoods can surprise.
When ostensibly alpha-males in Vietnam are sitting about on the streets of the capital, it's far from a surprise. But when they are sitting about staring up lovingly at caged birds, talking about how sweetly they sing, one might be forgiven for being slightly taken aback. Further observation was warranted.
This pleasantly situated cafe near the Japanese embassy appears to cater for these bird-admirers, having erected a series of bamboo rods from which the cages can be hung for their viewing pleasure. Clearly a pastime for boys who have everything - latest mobile phones (usually x 2), Italian scooters, imported cigarillos in tins, gold bling enough to purchase land - there is still something of an anomaly here. Shouldn't they be older or elderly, more outwardly scholarly in appearance, perhaps wearing berets, looking up between chess manoeuvres?
The ornately carved cages are worth millions of VND, many of them imported from China. Vietnamesegod was telling me a friend of his owns a moderately priced cage, for which he paid 27 million (USD$1415, AUD$1610). One of the boys at the cafe said he was going to sell his two cages and buy a car.
Now that's more like the Vina-alpha male I know and love.
For a song (not)
One coconut, one iced black coffee - 50,000VND (USD$2.60, AUD$3)
26 Van Phuc
Ba Dinh, Hanoi