Saturday, March 14, 2009


(PICTURE: A mannequin shop in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Veronica.)

I had an interesting -- but definitely not unusual -- experience last month when I was on my bike trip. As Long, Nicky and I pulled into a small town in the middle of nowhere, I spotted a foreigner up ahead on the sidewalk. I thought to myself, "I can't believe there are other non Vietnamese people in this town." Well, there weren't. The foreigner up ahead was a mannequin.

One thing you will notice in Vietnam is that 99% of the mannequins are white people. The other 1% aren't Asian either, they're black. I've found this to be an odd phenomenon the whole time I've been in Vietnam. A girl friend of mine commented the other day that the strangest things about the mannequins is that Vietnamese people don't have the same shaped bodies. She said that if you look closely at the mannequins you'll notice that the pants are never buttoned or zipped. Apparently Asian hips, and the pants they try to squeeze on the mannequins, are a lot smaller.

While we were on the subject of mannequins someone else brought up a strange mannequin sighting that had just happened to them. They were driving their motorbike when in the corner of their eye they saw a naked torso driving next to them. They turned their head and saw some dude driving with the top half of a mannequin sitting in front of him on his motorbike. The legs were tied to the back.

Now back to my initial story. I personally think the strangest thing about the mannequins here is that they are often on the sidewalk. When you drive by, or even walk up to them, it makes them feel a lot more real when they are out and about in society and not just in storefront windows.