An alley way in Hanoi
The problem with most vacations is that by the time you start really enjoying yourself it’s already time to go home. So it is true for my recent trip to Vietnam, except that I was thoroughly enjoying myself the moment I stepped off the plane. From seeing a city seething with scooters, lush green landscapes, unique architecture, and a population bustling in streets that didn’t seem capable of containing their energy, Vietnam is a sensory overload from start to finish. Since my first stop was Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam and home to about 3.3 million residents, the re-cap will start there. Click for pics and stories:
This was the first shot I took the whole vacation. We had been in the taxi from the airport for all of two minutes when this special delivery came buzzing past our window. I’m no butcher, but I think that’s a pig split square down the gullet. Must. Resist. Urge. To Make…Fast…Food. Pun.
This monk was meditating next to Hoan Keim Lake which can be found right smack dab in the middle of Hanoi. The park itself reminded me a lot of Seattle’s Greenlake, in both size and atmosphere. There were a fair amount of joggers and walkers, and plenty of restaurants and places to rest lining the nearby streets. The monk was smart to find a a shaddy location. When we visted it must have been about 34 degrees celecius with over 85% humidity. I was a hot sweaty mess for most of the day.
This flower shop sits at the entrance of a narrow alley market tucked away in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a place packed with shops, restaurants, souvenir stalls, hotels, and plenty of tourist traps. This market was selling everything from fresh fruit to mashed pig brain.
As a developing country, Vietnam really hasn’t invested a whole lot on their infrastructure yet, as evident by their telephone poles a.k.a a utility man’s worst nightmare. I think it’s a safe bet to assume that more than a couple people are swiping themselves some sweet free cable.
The owner of the bike begged me to take this shot, too bad the dog wouldn’t cooperate. Regardless, this dog had a front row seat to the madness that is Hanoi’s traffic system. Actually, there is no system, just a hell of a lot of traffic. I spent good deal of time just looking on in disbelief at the crazy stuff people piled onto their scooters – from large panes of glass to giant rolls of carpet to air conditioners and everything in between. Motorbikes in Vietnam are more than just means of transportation, their a way of life, but more on that in future posts. For now, check out this incredible collection of pictures of photographer Hans Kemp.
Related Listening: “35 in the Shade” – A.C. Newman