The van ride from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay is four hours, and one of the rest stops is a bizarre and huge retailing center about an hour outside the city. You can buy all manner of “local” goods at inflated prices — we bought chips and water. But the pièce de résistance of the entire enterprise is located outside that building, in a garden featuring every marble statue known to man, and some you don’t even want to see or know about. Tourists can buy these marble — meaning HEAVY — statues here and have them shipped anywhere in the world. If that’s not weird enough, the place posts photos and FULL ADDRESSES of the people who bought this stuff. I should track down May Deischter of Murietta, California, and ask her if she’s still happy with her purchase. She could’ve gone home with a silk scarf, but I suppose that would have wilted in the garden.