Saturday, March 19, 2011


I'm a whimp when it comes to cold, wet weather.  I hate it.  My shoulders tense, I look down to avert the wind and rain and have a hard time enjoying the world around me.  Yesterday, this was exacerbated by having the wrong shoes and not enough warm clothes.  So my first goal was to purchase sneakers.  The crazy glue was still keeping my soles together, yes the second one came undone in Hue, but it seemed risky to trek in them in the mountains of Sapa where it had just snowed.  In Hanoi, I found several stores selling Nike, Adidas and Puma, but the styles suitable for my needs were all for men.  The shoes for women were more like ballet flats with canvas and accessorized straps.  The few running sneakers I found were only available in small sizes.  Seemingly women here aren't encouraged to be athletic or if they do partake in a sport they're subjected to improper footwear.   This realization wasn't so surprising given what I've witnessed the last few weeks during my travels in Southeast Asia.  Regardless of the climate women's feet are exposed in flimsy, ill-fitting sandals s or patent leather heals.  This doesn't seem to impede them from riding motorcycles or carrying baskets of food on their head.  However, from my western point of view it appears to be avestige from when women were more inferior to men.  I know what it's like to suffer in a pair of heels for fashion, but this is a practical issue.  In the US my foolishness is a choice, but after scouring the stores for something sensible to wear on my feet I don't think that's the case in Vietnam.

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