Free beach draws crowds

Update: August, 18/2015 - 10:52

Residents in Ha Thai village in Ha Noi have had their own swimming pool since 2012. That was when a 10-kilometre long channel was opened by the Hong Van Irrigation Company.

Water from the Hong (Red) River supplies agricultural needs for the whole Phu Xuyen district. Each afternoon after school or work, villagers flocks to the canal's grassy banks to swim and enjoy the fresh, clean water.

A local woman living near the "the beach" said she and her neighbours were happy at being able to cool off on hot days - for free. The deepest place of the channel is about two metres so many children are equipped with life-jackets. This sensible move is probably why there have been no drownings.

Another resident said the water was cleaner than that coming through the taps. "It does not cause any trouble with the skin," she said. "And it is much cleaner than the water in any neighbouring seaside beaches."

Ghost hunter caught on fence

Dozens of youths gathered outside 300 Kim Ma Street in Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi, at 10pm on Sunday. They made no secret of the fact that they were trying to break into the house because it was said to be haunted.

After walking around the dwelling, the youths found a side entrance, but it was locked. They then tried to climb over a barbed-wire fence to get in.

Unfortunately, one of the youngsters, a teenage girl, tried to climb the fence and got stuck among the sharp barbs. Her friends left her there while they gainedd entrance to the mystery house.

After exploring the inside of the building, they sat down and started discussing what they had felt. Then someone remembered the poor girl left on the fence. The mystery about the so called haunted house suddenly faded as the ghost hunters united to free her.

The spirits, if there were any, must have been laughing!

Young lady learns the rules

For many people, tourists and locals alike, the revamped, pedestrians-only streets in Ha Noi's Old Quarter are a delight to wander around at weekends. The troupes of traditional singers and performers are breathing life back into an area normally swamped with motorbikes and cars. The relaxed ambiance of the place is a thousand times more pleasurable than jumping out of the way of honking vehicles.

This is obviously what prompted a foreign man who leapt into the path of a motorbike being driven by a young Vietnamese girl last week. As she revved the machine, he yelled at her in Vietnamese: "Hay xuong xe, di bo di." (Get off the motorbike and walk.)

Despite his protests, the girl sat patiently, obviously waiting for him to go away. The man became angry and shouted: "This is a pedestrian street." Several Vietnamese in the vicinity also advised the girl to obey the new law, but she simply replied that she did not want to.

After a while, the girl agreed and walked away pushing the motorbike. She was lucky. In central Hoi An, officials charged with keeping vehicles out of tourist precincts use their mobiles to warn staff at other exits to watch out for vehicles that try to break the ban.

The girl in question in Ha Noi can revel in the thought that the whole incident has been replayed endlessly on Facebook and You Tube. — VNS