“I never travel without my diary.One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Oscar Wilde
Hanoi, the vibrant, chaotic capital of Vietnam is not only a city in transition, but also one of many contradictions. It’s both ancient and modern, containing an abundance of historical edifices spread over the city center as well as a young, pulsating vibe. Likewise, it’s certainly noisy, but seemingly peaceful at the same time. For every busy marketplace and buzzing frenzy of motorbikes there is a peaceful temple or serene corner park and tree-lined boulevard.
The busy Vietnamese are always coming and going with some activity to keep them busy, but they always have time to answer a questions or give a suggestion if asked. They are also an enterprising people, who have begun to come out of the decades long communist repression of the economy and are very keen to make a buck by offering their services from motorbike tours to restaurant and hotel offerings. Good deals are to be had!
Shrines and temples are spread around the city ranging from behemoths like this one to simple little set ups and alters near most buildings and homes, where people pay homage to their ancestors. The friendly locals are always happy to have a little chat or pose for a quick snapshot.
The city’s many eateries and food stalls provide many options to replenish after a long day of sightseeing. The Vietnamese inherited bread from the French during the colonial period and now it can be found piled up everywhere in little shops and on the street side. The smell of freshly baked baguette or the taste of a lovely sandwich adds an extra touch to the vibe in Hanoi.
The Vietnamese are a hyper bunch and everywhere one looks, people are busying themselves with one activity or another in a frenzy of activity.
West Lake in the center of the city provides ample opportunities for recreation and relaxation from the gridlock of the city.
The ubiquitous phở bò with egg rolls, which I eat nearly every day when I’m in Vietnam.
A busy street market full of economic activity and commerce. Old scenes like this one still dominate many parts of the city.
The color red is everywhere with communist flags and propaganda being always present as can be seen in this sort of military parade that I stumbled upon.