I have made it back to Canberra after a successful, but rather hectic, final research trip to Hanoi. All in all, the data collection went well, and should definitely improve the final PhD produced. I also had a bit more time to investigate antiquities sellers in more 'remote' areas of Hanoi; the very area (around Nghi Tam St., West Lake District) in which I first documented a no-questions asked antiquities trade during my first trip (although you can bet I did ask questions where appropriate).
As expected, numerous stores were once again encountered in this area, of which I had time to look around, posing as a 'buyer off the street,' and talk to the owners of three. Unfortunately, I did not have time to seek out similar stores in Saigon. Maybe next time. I will blog about what I uncovered at each of these locations in time; what they were selling, for how much, what they had to say or not about how to ship items abroad, their usual clientele, or the general acknowledged legality or illegality of the enterprise. While I fully admit that my "sample size" is small, nothing that I learned caused me to view this information as atypical for the city. In my opinion, on-the-ground "check-ups" and documentation every once and awhile is very important. As an example of the primarily Iron Age Dong Son artifacts encountered in most stores, see the photo above left. Photo courtesy of the author, taken at the Chi Lan "souvenir shop and art gallery," Hang Bong St., Hanoi. More to come, so stay tuned.