December 12, 2001

The ao dai calendar

The Vietnamese traditional attire, the aodai, has always fascinated me. I had seen a calendar with some ao dai models in one of the travel offices down south in Hue. I made a mental note to buy similar calendar before I leave Vietnam. I was in Hanoi at the tail end of my trip. By the time I reached here, it was nearing the end of the year. Almost every second street vendor was selling calendars.

Hanoi street

I went to a vendor, looked up my phrase-book, and uttered the words : woman, calendar. He nodded indicating that he understood. He pulled out a calendar from a stack. The calendar featured women all right, but they were not Vietnamese, and they were all bikini-clad.

A passing student volunteered to translate. When the vendor heard what I really wanted, he laughed. He did not stock those any more as according to him they were not trendy. He said he will try to find one and asked me to return later.

I went back an hour later, he was standing there with my ao dai calendar and a wide grin.

Lady in Ao Dai


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