Postcard from Hanoi

May 24, 2012 in Places,Vietnam

Drinking “fresh beer” while sitting on child-sized furniture, dodging a constant stream of motorcycle traffic, group aerobics by the lake before the sun rises: this is Hanoi.

Woman selling flowers on bicycle on street in Hanoi, Vietnam

The city in Vietnam’s north is remarkably cold: in temperature, in ambiance, in attitude. I layered on all the clothes I had, wrapping my scarf around my face, in an attempt to warm up from the biting wind and shield myself against the scams that seemed ever-present. The skies and streets in Hanoi are gray; Communist-red motorcycles, plastic furniture and buckets in primary colors, turquoise shutters are the only pops of life. Flights from Saigon only take an hour or so, but it seems a world away.

Limes and chopsticks at a street food stall in Hanoi, Vietnam

Limes and chopsticks at a street food stall.

Woman cooking in alley before sunrise in Hanoi, Vietnam

Preparing the day’s food in the alley before sunrise.

After-school pickup on motorcycles in Hanoi, Vietnam

Parents on after-school pick-up duty on motorcycles–and one awkward school photo.

Lights reflecting off the lake before sunrise in Hanoi, Vietnam

Reflections in the water in the dead of night.

Little girls eating a steamed pork bun in Hanoi, Vietnam

Two adorable girls sharing a steamed pork bun across the table from me.

Men drinking fresh beer on the corner on kiddie furniture in Hanoi, Vietnam

Men perch on kid-sized stools to sip afternoon beers.

Women sitting on side of street as motorcycle roars by in Hanoi, Vietnam

Two women gossip as motorcycles rush by on the street.

What’s your favorite photo of Hanoi? 

  • AliciaC

    The two little girls are just precious! 

  • Becky

    I love the woman preparing the food! In USA we all want a huge kitchen to cook with, but the picture shows you really just need the basics.

  • Maybe it was that it was warm in Hanoi when I was there, or perhaps because I’d been in Vietnam for over 4 weeks by then and felt adjusted to the culture, but I looooooved Hanoi. The street food was so amazing and just walking around was entertainment enough. My downside was that the fresh beer gave me a killer headache, and I had to stick to the more expensive bottled beers.

  • Motorcycle with the awkward photo for sure! 🙂

  • I really liked Hanoi, especially the chaos of the old town. Perfect for getting lost and go on a photo-walk!!

  • camorose

    They were super cute until they kept wanting to play with and walk away with my iPhone! So funny how kids all over the world know the technology better than grown-ups 🙂

  • camorose

    I think I just got off on the wrong foot in Hanoi–was scammed by a taxi driver for a measly $5 before dawn as soon as I got there, and then lost another $5 in a little street vendor scam. Totally not big in the scheme of things, but left a bad taste in my mouth–still had some brilliant experiences, but I preferred Saigon! Plus, it was REALLY cold!

  • camorose

    Ha! isn’t that hilarious?

  • camorose

    Yes! Had quite a few good wanders there 🙂

  • Hanoi was pretty Chaotic.  Good to get lost in!  As I was there in July, I am always surprised when people say how cold it can be, as I used to think it was a definite “tropical city”.  When we were there it was hot and mostly sunnny, with the exception of a huge monsoonal storm.

  • Hanoi was one of my favourite cities, I like how no one tries to sell you anything and you can just hang out and note bothered.

  • camorose

    Lucky! It was suuuuuper cold when I was there, particularly after how sunny and hot it was in the South! And yes, I got lost plenty 🙂

  • camorose

    Bah I actually got scammed a bit in Hanoi, so not one of my favorites–but still enjoyed walking around the old city!

  • I found this blog by accident. Really glad I did though, I’ll be back from now on

  • camorose

    Yay glad you liked it 🙂

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