You see quite a few women in the Ancient Quarter market carrying fresh produce in two flat baskets suspended from a bamboo shoulder pole sectioned lengthwise. They always carry some Vietnamese bananas, which are shorter than the Central American ones. I have the sense that they supply their clientele in the mornings and then freelance with tourists in the afternoons.
These are tough women physically and mentally. If one sets her Nón lá on you, it’s only a question of how many bananas you will be purchasing, and at what price. The first one who approached me ended up with a US dollar and I with the most expensive banana ever sold in Southeast Asia. When I reached for my banana she smacked my hand away and broke off a different one, turning the encounter into a contact sport that she completely dominated.
The next day as I was trying to take a video of the young tap dancers this woman saw her mark. You can hear her badgering me in the video. I had two bananas for breakfast and didn’t want a third. A couple of older Vietnamese stood just off to the side enjoying the game. The woman decided that if I didn’t want a banana, she would sell me a photo, and I finally agreed. We haggled over the price – I can’t recall what was agreed to and it didn’t matter anyway as she would have all the money that came out of my pocket, she doesn’t do “change.” I enjoy a good salesperson and she had me and the spectators laughing as I got this picture. (In the background you can see another of the wedding couples at the fountain). Then she mimed that she would use my camera to take a photo of me, but I said I couldn’t afford it.