World Cups are entirely predictable, at least until the first game has finished, when people start looking at one another and asking questions. Questions like: Why does the ball always fly out of the stadium when someone kicks it? Where is Senegal? Why did those Scottish players bundle the ball into their own net? How do you pronounce Schillaci?

As more employees in Vietnam loosen their shirt collars and digital nomads take to the country’s Wi-Fi hotspots, a solution to all that freedom has popped in the form of collaborative, co-working spaces. Words by Aimee Millwood. Photos by David Harris

Western-style classical music is growing in popularity. Kim Megson heads to the Vietnam National Academy Music to meet the country’s existing and future stars. Photos by Nick Ross

From ground level we get one main perspective on what’s around us — that which is straight ahead, to the side or behind, all on the same plane. Yet ascend a few flights of stairs or take a lift up to the 50th floor, and our perspectives change. Below us stretches out a landscape that on the street we can only imagine. People become the size of pins, cars form into beetles and motorbikes start behaving like ants in a colony, zooming from one point to another, with little in-between.

Despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Derek Boocock is cycling the world. Nick Ross catches up with him in Hanoi

I remember in my early days, seeing a T-shirt that read “I made it to Vietnam before McDonald’s did!” I recall loving that concept at the time; I felt original, like I accomplished something groundbreaking. With my nine-year anniversary of living in Vietnam having passed in June, along with the news recently breaking of McDonald’s finally coming to the country, I started thinking of all of the other things this city didn’t have when I first arrived. Here’s my list of eight things that made it to Vietnam before McDonald’s (but not before me).

The Red River Runners

If you haven’t heard of it then you’re either new to Hanoi or living the life of a hermit. Now in its seventh year, from a mere handful of runners in its salad days, the Song Hong Half Marathon has transformed itself into the biggest annual running event in the capital.

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