The Áo dài calendar (Hanoi)

In Hue at a travel office, I saw a calendar featuring women in Áo dài. I made a mental note to buy a similar calendar for the near year before I leave Vietnam. I was in Hanoi at the tail end of my trip. It was nearing the end of the year. Many street seller was selling calendars. I went to a seller, looked up my phrase-book, and uttered the words, “woman, calendar.” The vendor nodded indicating that he understood. He pulled out a calendar from his stack. The calendar featured women all right, but they were not Vietnamese, and they were all in bikini. A passing student volunteered to translate. When the vendor heard what I really wanted, he laughed. He said he did not stock those any more as they were out of fashion. When he saw me sulk, he said he will try to find one and asked me to return later. I went back an hour later. The seller was waiting for me with a wide grin and my Áo dài calendar.