You only have to drag yourself out of bed once at 5am to realize why the streets are almost bare after 10pm — everyone’s gone to bed.

At 5am most of the population over 30 years old is on the streets taking part in the morning exercise regime. Activities include aerobics, tai chi, sword dancing, hacky-sack, badminton, jogging, and walking, biking, stretching, working out at the gym.  And you’ll always see people catching up with friends for a morning chat.

Rich in culture and history, Vietnam is currently a hot destination attracting 7.0 million visitors in 2015 to November.  From all over the world visitors are flocking here to discover its ‘Hidden Charm’ and business opportunities.

Through its chequered history of wars Vietnam has formed and molded the Vietnamese into very resourceful and resilient people showing their courage, perseverance and determination to maintain Vietnam as their own.

As the capital city changes so do its people, striving to keep pace as the western veneer of globalization as it tries to cover their society and beliefs.  With such a strong patriotic culture there is thankfully no risk in losing who they are and what they believe in, or at least not for a few generations while the people still live who have experienced the harshness and reality of war. While Hanoi will unfortunately get more westernized looking from the outside, its true heart and soul will still always be Vietnamese.

One would think that their history and need to survive would harden the Vietnamese towards visitors but the opposite is true; and one feels more nervous about that than needed as hard feelings about the past invasions have been

some how let go or locked away in their minds and aren’t revealed to us. It is very humbling to have an older gentleman take interest in me, when I look like one of the many invaders to his country that he possibly fought against.

Once in Hanoi the many comings and goings of daily life, how the city works, and how the people live, will surprise you. With this blog, I hope to reveal this city to you, so from within Hanoi or from afar you can experience Hanoi and what makes it different from the rest of Asia and the rest of the world.

Hanoi, the ancient Capital of Vietnam, is much more than just the political centre.  With its many treasures to behold just walking around the streets you get to see life as it really is.

On the 10th of the 10th 2010 marked the very auspicious occasion as Hanoi celebrates its 1,000 year epic journey.  So much has gone on which rooms of encyclopedias could be and are written detailing the history in detail.  This site is not for this, but my wish is a great overview of Hanoi and how the last 1,000 years have formed the country and people we see today.

When you look into the lives of today’s Vietnamese it is easy to get a touch

Hi, I'm Christina, I love taking photos and being out on the streets on my motorbike (HonGda), lived in Vietnam for over 3 years, wrote a book about the city to celebrate the 1000 year birthday of Hanoi in 2010.
I’m Christina Minamizawa – the writer of gGOOODer – lived in Hanoi, Vietnam over 3 years, love the rich culture you experience everyday. Most photos got taken of the back of my motor bike.

of culture shock and think they are rather weird.  On further investigation outside of Vietnam we can find some seriously weird stuff in any culture, so let’s just get over that and get to the WOW.  There is so much we can get WOW’ed by in every culture.  Here we celebrate not only diversity but also the similarities that bring us together as one in the world, so open your mind to a wonderful visual and informative adventure.

For me, guide books never delve deep enough into the city other than the usual tourist traps. I have always loved the back streets, as for me that is where it all happens and where you find the true essence and soul of the city.

I do hope that you find as many joys in Vietnam as I have had living in Hanoi and putting this together to connect cultures and understand an amazing culture and its people.