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Thursday, July 05, 2007


Quick, police!

Some of the hawkers have come to know me now as the see me day after day wandering the streets of Hanoi. Occasionally they go through the motions but most of them know it is just a game and that I am very unlikely to buy anything.

On one corner there were three or four hawkers standing and sitting with their wares. I stopped for a minute chatting. Suddenly, someone said something that I didn't understand and they scattered. They all but disappeared, then stopped and returned. It was a false alarm. They thought it was the police coming.

There were two motorcycles approaching. They looked like police to me but I am often confused by uniforms in Asia.

'So what do the police do if they catch you selling?' I asked.

'They take all my t-shirts and make me pay money,' one answered.

I'm not sure exactly what that means except that for the hawker it is an overhead expense that must be factored into the price they charge for the goods.

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