After wandering 10 1/2 hours through a few central neighborhoods of Hanoi today, I’m spent. Here are my photos from Friday – New Years Day – in the Vietnamese capital, in the order in which they were taken.
On Thursday afternoon I took a last bike ride through Phu Quoc, and plan to post those photos soon. Tomorrow I go to Halong Bay, a three hour drive from Hanoi.
I started my long day of walking in the Dong Xuan market. It was immediate sensory overload. I’d never been to a place like it before. So many pedestrians, motorbikes, workers, cars, sounds.
Phan Dinh Phung is a major avenue that goes towards the seat of government and the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum
I realized that Ho Chi MInh City was the most coffee-obessed place I’d even been. Hanoi beats it. Cafe’s are everywhere, which is said to be a remnant of French colonialism.
Eating outdoors is very common, especially around dinner
This is the presidential palace. The massive gates you see are in fact the second line of defense. The first, a soldier who blows a whistle when you approach the gate.
I caught these guys sneaking some cell phone usage behind the booth while on duty. They didn’t catch me taking pictures of them, which is banned.
The centerpiece of the government’s vast complex – the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
If you were wondering, those guards don’t move
The Ho Chi Minh Museum, just happned to be closed Friday afternoons. I come to expect that with my lack of research.
You might be noticing all the gas mask to protect from toxic fumes. They seem to be more commonly used by women.
An avalanch of motorbikes waits for a green light in front of a construction site
Cafes. Are. Everywhere.
I just had to go to this upstairs cafe to get a different angle for my people-watching
But when I went in, no one was around. I went upstairs – still empty. “Hello? Hello?” A woman came down to tell me they’d closed. A good number of Hanoi’s cafes seem to close after the morning.
Ho Hoan Kiem, the most prominent lake in Hanoi
Someone has to keep the grounds as beautiful as they are
Apparently 7up owns 2016
I decided to visit the “Revolution Museum”, part of the Vietnam Museum of history. It features an impressive array of photos, sculptures, paintings, and artifacts documenting the country’s decades of struggle against France, as well as battles with Japan, America, and several other Western powers. The museum makes clear its special disdain for Vietnamese who worked with the Americans. Ho Chi MInh is widely celebrated in Vietnam, so you’d expect he’d get a lot of attention in the museum.
Back at Ho Hoan Kiem as night begins to fall
Through the day, my only break was 45 minutes at the museum. So I decided to grab a coffee at Cafe 34. RIght place, right time.
A view from the cafe
I didn’t start smoking. Every table has an ash tray – and a “Good morning Vietnam” mug. Vietnamese coffee is the best coffee I’d ever had, and I wanted to buy some before leaving.
This is where the internet becomes so useful. The small cafe had wifi, and with that I was able to use google translate and show the store owners my screen. They sold it to me, along with the filter used to make it.
The rest of the photos were taken at and around Westlake (Ho Tay) as I returned to my hotel, almost an hour walk from the city center.