First stop in Vietnam. The place has the same frenetic feel as New York, with similar characters, except that everything (I repeat, everything) takes place on the street.
* = Duyen's photo
|A day in the life... which all takes place on the street. We didn't have to hire any extras for the photo shoot. Many people live in store fronts, and you can see them cooking, eating and watching television as you walk by in the evenings.|
|Was that a traffic light?
If you can find one at all, a traffic light is merely a suggestion. To cross, you inch out slowly into the middle of the street, trying not to surprise anyone. In return for your consideration, they'll try to drive around you.
|*The night Vietnam
won the football game
Vietnam is the most football-crazy country in the world. The night Vietnam won against Singapore, what else to do but race motorcycles around the lake? This went on well past midnight.
|A market, with outdoor cafe. Diners sit on plastic children's chairs. The lower the chair, usually, the better the food.|
This is how you buy your food in Vietnam. There's amazing variety of food cooked, uncooked, or still clucking.
|A jeweler's shop in Hanoi
By strange coincidence, the name means "to be prosperous".
|A side street near the Cathedral.|
|A friend's former house across from Hoan Kiem
We promised to photograph it during our visit. The lake is in the center of the city, and quite nice.
|Temple in the middle of the Hoan Kiem lake
There's a legend about a turtle and a sword.
|Bridge on Hoan Kiem lake
There's Ngoc Son, a Buddhist temple, and a small museum here, which includes an ancient, mummified turtle dredged out of the lake. There's also an exhibit on Tran Hung Dao, the general who prevented the Mongols from overrunning Vietnam in the 13th century.
Right near the lake, some might call the style hyper-realism.
|The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. First stop on a Hanoi tour, and where all Vietnamese tourists get their picture taken. They told me Ho Chi Minh was away for his annual retouching, but I'm starting to take this personally. The same thing happened to me on visits to Lenin, Mao, and even Sukhbataar. It's not a simple coincidence.|
|The Ho Chi Minh Museum. Dedicated to the writings and philosophy of Ho Chi Minh, it's surprising how modest and common-sensical he was, speaking a lot about learning from mistakes. After 1969, his writings became a bit more strident.|
|The Temple of Literature
The oldest university in Vietnam, dating from 1070. Yes, the water is green.
with the names of successful doctoral candidates. The turtle is an animal which symbolizes the scholar.
In those days, these were diplomas - a bit big to hang on the wall.
Actually, a bunch of schoolgirls, who we overheard rehearsing a song. Like little girls everywhere, they have a scary command of detail. They asked if we would take their picture.
|The inner sanctum.
How far you go into the temple has to do with your achievement as a scholar. They made an exception in my case.
|Museum of ethnography.
Built by the French, this is a wonderful museum, devoted to Vietnam's 53 ethnic minorities. Our tour guide touched every single exhibit that wasn't behind glass. In the courtyard, there are reconstructions of traditional house. This one is from the Yao, who also live in southern China.
See no evil, hear no evil, but gossip all you want.
Many tribes are related to the Thai and Lao, again, with similar groups in southern China where the Thai originally came from.
Many families share the same house, which has no windows. Notice the modern buildings around it, also multi-family, though at a 90-degree angle.
The front door and stairs. I believe the left stairway is the male one.