On a recent trip to inspect the new Trang Tien Department Store right in the middle of old Ha Noi. I was appalled to find that it was totally filled with fancy foreign goods ... Louis Vuitton, Dior, Faberge and so so.
The delightful mix of East and West had gone, along with any attempt to promote Viet Nam goods to foreigners or even local people.
The same thing happened to Hang Da Market, the place where I used to buy my shirts and veggies five years ago. Now it is an upmarket store for the super rich, an appalling, cold and empty place.
What happened to the old market ... and the promises that it was being restored for the people? Why were the hard workers of the old market, the meat and veggie sellers, placed down in a dark basement?
There are four floors of fancy goods behind plate-glass windows, while the remaining liquor sellers on the ground floor are caged in 1.5 square metres of concrete and aluminum grill.
What happened to the old road market in the centre of the square outside, removed when the old building was pulled down four years ago. There was a promise to replace it?
Does this mean that the new Viet Nam comes second to the interests and designs of big-time foreign interests and their well-heeled counterparts?