Yes, I admit it, the Hello Kitty balloon was
the one that particularly caught my eye!
A mobile food vendor attracts the interest of customers
sitting outside on a a cafe's low stools
Another hawker -- this one with a bicycle --
also finds a customer on a Hanoi street
While standing around waiting to get into St. Joseph's Cathedral on the morning of my fourth day in Vietnam, I found myself enjoying observing life as it took place on the streets, sidewalks and stores whose fronts often were open for all to see (with nary a wall to block one's sight of what wares there were inside). While previously I had been too busy walking around (while in Hanoi, I relied on my own two feet and didn't take a single car taxi, motorcycle taxi (xe om), bus or cyclo) and trying to not get lost, I finally had the time to see the world pass by me -- and it actually was quite fun!
The section of humanity that particularly caught my eye on that and quite a few other occasions were the street vendors, especially those of the mobile variety, who walked about touting their wares or moved about with a bicycle so heavily laden with goods that it's a wonder they could move, never mind have nothing fall off them!
Of interest were what they chose to sell -- frequently food but also such as balloons, flowers, non la (the conical hats that are apparently unisex but I generally only ever saw Vietnamese women wear) and knitted caps (that one generally would associate with far colder weather than what we found in Hanoi) -- but I also found what they used to transport their goods fascinating as well, not least because the quang ganh (two baskets slung from each end of a wooden or bamboo pole) that many of the invariably female street vendors ably hauled about looked so very heavy.
Because of what I had previously read about snatch thieves and camera theft in Vietnam, I was initially wary of taking street photos, and especially of street vendors -- being fearful that they'd come up and demand money for my having taken photos of them. But with each passing day that I was in Vietnam, the safer and safer I felt -- though it's also true that I never quite conquered my fear that if I bought food from the street vendors and sidewalk cafes where people sat on stools and used other stools as tables, it might well be a case of travel not only broadening the mind but also loosening the bowels! ;(