The black market is thriving in Hanoi. The streets are positively cluttered with black marketeers selling everything from post cards to beef. In fact, just outside my front door are five or six little old ladies selling fruits and vegetables.
Of course, the first thing is to determine which little old lady is going to give a fair price. The ladies just outside my door are outrageously prices, so Kris and I head to the Old Quarter for my produce. There we find one grayed granny with everything we need laid out in plastic baskets on the sidewalk. After a minimal amount of bargaining, we agree to buy a bag stuffed with goodies for around $2 US.
Except, half way through filling our order, the tiny gray-haired woman jumps up quicker than lightening, grabs all the baskets and runs into a darkened hair salon across the street. We are left bewildered on the sidewalk, saying "WTF?!" But it quicky becomes clear to me what is happening when a moment later a police van cruises down the street. Once the cops are gone, the lady comes back with a smile and rearranges her goods on the sidewalk.
We got our bag of groceries and several more along the same street from similar black market grannies. At the end of the shopping excursion, we had bought a variety of fruits and veggies totalling about $6 US. We also got a new copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to Vietnam for $5.