Tra Phuong and her friend were having a good time. They swayed to the tune of jazz melodies crooned by a French singer, not put off by the sounds of clinking glasses and exhortations of “zo zo tram phan tram” (Vietnamese for “bottoms up”) coming from a nearby table. Phuong came to the bar after her dance lesson at 9 p.m. The marketing and sales professional ordered a glass of beer, then a cocktail and she and her friend enjoyed the live music while making small conversation. At 11:30 p.m., the band stopped playing. The sounds of chitchat and clinking of glasses continued, but these were getting feeble, too. A few minutes later, Phuong and her friend paid their bill and left. All entertainment and other business establishments in the capital city, bars, pubs, restaurants, shops starting winding down close to midnight, when Hanoi police patrols set out, reminding them to shut down, turn off electricity, clear motorbikes off the sidewalk street – a practice aimed at maintaining public order. Hanoi authorities do not allow public activities after midnight, except in the Hoan Kiem area during weekends, when they allow until 2 a.m. Shortly afterwards police officers and militia begin… Read full this story
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