In the outskirts of Hanoi there is a group of small village boroughs that specialize in manufacturing rosewood sculpture and furniture. Most of the rosewood is illegally harvested from forests in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, and as far away as Myanmar. In Viet Nam, the rosewood is sold on the streets of these village boroughs as well as in China where it enters a larger market.
When Dave and I arrived in Hanoi, back in December, we met a Chinese tourist named Sebastian, who was traveling outside of China for the first time. He was beginning his own tour of Viet Nam. In Hanoi, Sebastian planned to meet a friend he had met online, playing a video game. Sebastian invited Dave and I to join him. His friend turned out to be Miaho, a rosewood dealer from China.