(Written by Her)
Made from palm leaf and bamboo, the conical hat must be the most widely recognizable symbol of Vietnam. During our time here we have seen the Vietnamese shade themselves with conical hats from the searing sun, we have seen tourists wear lopsided versions which seem to act as $$ signs over their head as they traipse around souvenir shops, and we’ve seen locals making conical hats in a Hue village. Now becoming part of Vietnamese national dress, conical hats can be seen on postcards worn by beautiful women, seeming so oriental and romantic, yet they have quite a sad reality in contemporary Vietnam. In Hanoi, conical hats are worn by women who originate from the countryside and come to the city to sell their wares. Conical hats would never be worn by urbanites who spot poorer rural vendors easily because of their hat. It has come to be a symbol of poverty in the city.
Is it hot in here?
Women in Vietnam seem completely unaffected by the heat on a day-to-day basis, as they drive around fully covered in hoodies, jackets, even wearing gloves in 40 degree heat. However, their appearance has nothing to do with their temperature, they are in fact very susceptible to the heat and can be regularly spotted perspiring and panting in the sun. Rather, they are acutely aware of their skin colour (and that of every western it seems). They wish to be white. Whiteness symbolises youth and beauty.
Two Child Average
One Thing at a Time
Every Vietnamese home has a ramp as well as steps fitted at its main entrance. Houses, shops, restaurants, even building sites all have an essential ramp. The steps are for people and the ramp is for the families moto. Those who have precious motos like to keep them safe and in the shade, thus parking them in their house for the night.