I have been quite critical of the Vietnamese in the past, I have commented on their driving, eating, bathing, habits, nose picking and so on, but now I would like to talk to you about something that is absolutely brilliant. I have mentioned this to friends in the past but I have yet to blog about it. This needs to be recorded for prosperity. BIA HOI, BIA HOI HANOI and many other similarly named establishments are pure genius in their simplicity. They are beer stands. Almost every street and road in Hanoi has a BIA HOI (beer stand) where for, believe it or not, 15 cents you can purchase yourself a tall glass of ice cold beer. Your 15 cents also works as rent where with your cold draught comes a cheap blue, red or black stool on which to sit and a tiny piece of property out of the sun.
The draught beer that is sold at the BIA HOI's is delivered daily and contains no preservatives. So not only is it quite literally the cheapest beer in the world, but it is healthier than most beer, and contains a mere 2 to 3.5 alcohol percentage, so you can drink it all day and not have to worry about getting too drunk. You can also bring your own containers and fill them up with the draught to take home with you. I have seen people filling up 5 litre water jugs with BIA HOI beer to take home. How awesome is that?
One of the most beautiful aspects of the BIA HOI is the opportunity that it gives even it's most destitute customers, of being able to stand up and say " A round of beers for everybody!" How often can you say that in a drinking establishment with more than twenty customers and still have it cost less than a couple of dollars. Pure genius.
Imagine the popularity of such an establishment in Halifax. Have a tent set up on Spring Garden Road with a stack of plastic stools, and some umbrellas for shade. You could sit on the corner on a hot summer day and watch the ladies walk by, or the men, depending on who is reading this. ( I'm talking about you Larry, wink wink)And most importantly, have an ice cold draught in your hand.
But alas, such a thing would never be allowed in Nova Scotia, or any other part of Canada due to the strict alcohol legislation and enforcement. So, if you want to experience the simple pleasure of sitting on the road drinking 15 cent draught and observing the madness and mayhem going on all around you on a hot afternoon, your only option is coming to Hanoi, where we will have a stool waiting for ya.