This post is a follow on from Hanoi 3 – second day morning tour. When I looked more closely at the times in the file, I realised that we didn’t get lunch until after the Cyclo tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. That’s where we start in this post.
The tour started outside the Old Quarter. As we pull away, we are full of anticipation. Dee’s Cyclo driver pulled out ahead of mine to join the procession of Cyclos carrying our group.
Before we arrived at the Old Quarter, I spotted out of the corner of my eye a possible opportunity to get some cheap Olympus gear. Just as well that I couldn’t stop really.
We hadn’t gone far before it looked as if Dee’s driver had had enough. Was it too much weight in the seat or just caution in the Hanoi traffic? I’m absolutely sure that it was the latter.
Before we enter the Old Quarter of Hanoi, it is worth mentioning that this area is a maze of streets dating back to the 13th Century. It has also been known as the ’36 Old Streets’, although there are rather more than that now. The streets were named after the trades or crafts that were the business of each individual street. More can be found about the history of these streets here, where there is a list of the street names and their translations, and here, where there is a little more information about some of them. Most of the time I didn’t know which streets we were in, but sometimes it was obvious.
One thing about photographing from a Cyclo, was the nearly continuous, but erratic motion. I thought that this might be a challenge to achieving good focus, so I took the decision to shoot everything at f9. This meant that I had too much DOF, but at the time I really didn’t want to miss any shots, all of which can be categorised as ‘snapshots’. I have tried a bit of not very good selective blurring on some shots to make up for this. This next shot of the fruit seller is one such image. Don’t look too hard!
Another fruit seller.
Fairly typical family transport, with youngster having a feed. Four on a bike is quite normal.
Originally, I thought that this was a beer delivery. I now think that it might be the collection of the empties. Either way, there is a marked lack of concern over the security of the load, which must also be rather a lot for the suspension of this poor little bike.
I can see that this is Hang Bac, a street that would originally have been the home of the Guild of Silversmiths. Any such businesses have now been diluted with a variety of others.
Typical traffic mayhem.
I titled the next picture ‘Ladies that Lunch’. Making use of street food vendors is a common way of eating lunch and there are many such vendors throughout the city. A particular problem that we did find when trying to negotiate any Vietnamese urban space as a pedestrian, was ‘where should I walk?’. The roads are chock full of vehicles, and the pavements (sidewalks) are full of women (and men to an extent) eating, at all times of day. In between them, the pavements are full of parked scooters. The only answer sometimes seems to be ‘in the gutter’.
A few more Old Quarter shots follow.
Buy my bins.
Buy my sunglasses.
Buy my flowers.
After lunch relaxation.
At home we would be pretty nervous of the character with the cigarette, watching either we tourists, or the deal being made between the two women. In Hanoi, however, street crime is really not much of a problem.
We are now back outside the Old Quarter. More traffic, though not too crowded with bikes. The scooter on the left has five people on it. The one with the girl/woman riding side-saddle may only have three.
This is a sign depicting the countdown to the 1000 year anniversary of the city of Hanoi, formerly known as Thang Long.
This is The Huc Bridge, which crosses Hoan Kiem Lake to Jade Island.
At last, after a very long and busy morning, we are in a local restaurant and about to be served with lunch. But first it had to be cooked!
This was to end up in the soup. Each piece of meat of fish was cooked for only a few seconds before serving. It was very good indeed.
After a late lunch, we were off to Hai Phong, before continuing to Ha Long Bay on the next day. On the way we saw how agriculture can be integrated into the urban scene.
We also saw how the paddy fields of rice are irrigated manually.
A well earned rest.
When we arrived at Hai Phong, there was only time for a quick walk around the area near the hotel as it was soon to get dark. In any case, we were pretty tired after a long day, so were ready for bed.
The onward trip to Ha Long Bay, and the cruise through the islands of the bay, will continue in the next post.
If you missed the start of this story, and would like to catch up, it can be found here.