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Marlboro got some Stylish Customers

There isn't a introduction required for them. The twins, nor the cigarette brand. I used to be a huge fan of Full House, and as an extension, Mary Kate and Ashley. I recall a movie I watched as a young teen called It Takes Two and I wondered how great it would be to have a twin.

And then I grew up, and forgot about them. Recently, scrolling through Pinterest, I found a photo of theirs, and as with all internet rabbit holes, I landed up looking at a whole lot of their photos. And oh boy, do they look Marlboro look good.

In all the photos I saw during my 'mk & a internet rabbit hole' phase, I noticed the cigarettes, but also the alc of colour. Their attire is typically coordinated, and they're in black and/or white. Their fashion label, The Row, further epitomises this. On The Row, I found minimalistic pieces that were so beautiful, and a tad above what my pockets would allow for.

I do appreciate their bond, they work together and maybe, it's all for the paparazzi, but either way, I do enjoy looking at them smoking, in great outfits - mostly black and white.

Street Photography and Street-Side Dining in Hanoi

It's been 2 months since my Vietnam trip, and I think I intentionally kept off posting all the posts immediately. When you post after a while, you're kind of forcing yourself to reminisce.

Hanoi - atleast the old quarters - is unintentionally built for walking. You could walk the whole day, continuously coming across new lanes, eateries and stores. Pedestrians are aplenty, but scooters and cyclists rule. We saw very few cars, I am certain that it would in fact be hard to navigate the small streets in a car.

There was a particular sight we saw repeated often. Outside eateries, on the street, you could almost always find groups of people, friends, families, young, old - they would be sitting together, chatting, laughing, eating. I don't know if this is something the French left behind, they do seem to have a strong 'eat by the street' culture.
I found this community-style eating very beautiful. 

Loved the community-style eating and chatting we saw frequently.

There was always a table-chair setup outside shops, welcoming locals and tourists to try their food. This street side dining is truly an experience.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the street food, the street-side seating overlooking the bustling city life. I relished the vegetable fried rice - it was cooked a particular manner, just a tad crispy, a tad spicy and with all the amazing flavours. The Vietnam special coffee was great too!

The Books I read in 2022

I used to read a lot as kid - Secret Seven, Harry Potter, Sweet Valley, Famous Five, Nancy Drew. But somewhere between school and hitting 30, I realized I had read all of probably 10 books. Last March, I finally decided to do something about it as it bothered me.

I joined the Dubai bookclub - and tried to be consistent and managed to read 25 books - being inspired by fellow readers.

Apart from the books that I read for the book club, I read science-fiction (Project Hailmary was one of my favourites), multi-geography authors (Iran, Nigeria, Angola, Former Yugoslavia, Japan, Chile and Palestine). Reading about stories from different parts of the world made me realize that there are is so much I don't know.

This year, I'm going to try and read 35 books - and I'm excited about it!

Little Things in Vietnam (Hanoi and Hoi An)

Vietnam is a haven for shopoholics - even for those on a budget. While of course the bigger cities have the Pradas and Chanels, it was the smaller stores that fascinated me. Small art galleries, book shops, souvenir stores, handcrafted leather shops, ceramic stores. All just quietly sitting there - waiting for you to enter and be marvelled. 

If you have watched Korean dramas, you must be familiar with Soju. I liked that they specifically mentioned that the above Soju was imported fom Korea.

Ceramics is big in Hanoi. This store we walked in to had so many cute little things.

I almost picked this up, before realizing my cat would gracefully knock it on the floor.

A tiny ceramic cat.

While walking the inner lanes in the old quarters, I came across this book store. They had some really nice books - a collection that seemed hand picked by someone who loves books.

Some fine books.

2 cute little things - found them inside a temple.

I was not surprised to see such beautiful handcrafted shoes - a lot of global brands outsource their production to Vietnam and this is just an outcome of that.

We saw the seasons transition very explicitly, one day it was hot and sunny, the next, it was rainy with a cool winter breeze. This cute little dog was wrapped in a t-shirt overnight - it wasn't a pet, but someone obviously had done this for several street dogs which was nice to see.

This is an irony - a huge plate in a post titled 'little things'. I loved the jelly fish painted onto it - another ceramic store.

In the spirit of Christmas, a minimalistic cristmas tree at the shop front. This store had so many cute little things.

I would go back to Vietnam solely for a shopping trip, amongst other things.

Some of the stores we shopped from; do keep in mind that their websites are not well designed nor updated properly.

T&N leather in Hoi An

Kana Boutique

Authentic Battrang

The Craft House

Bookstore - close to the Fifi Arts and Crafts Cafe

There are a lot of low profile art galleries - we bought some original art work from a contemporary Vietnamese artist - Song Thu Art Gallary.