Our stay in Hanoi was centered in and around the Old Quarter, a bustling area with a maze of streets lined with shops, cafés, food stalls, and restaurants, with Hoan Kiem Lake and its lovely surrounding park nearby. Many of the local people seem to enjoy sitting along the sidewalk on their stoops or on plastic chairs and stools, at times sharing a meal with friends, enjoying a cup of tea, or just socializing, their laid-back behavior in striking contrast to the frenzy of passing motorbikes and other traffic.