My Dinh is all about contrasts. Beneath shiny new towers, five-star hotels and affluent neighborhoods remain shanty towns and slums. My Dinh also represents Hanoi’s grand ambitions for the future and the difficult reality of achieving them. There are whole communities of luxurious villas erected in a time of great optimism, that were soon abandoned in the face of a stagnating real estate market.
Some of these semi-finished villas have found a second life as cafes, bun cha restaurants and motorbike garages. It’s this kind of ingenuity and adaptability that will ultimately bring Vietnam the success it deserves.
This is the first installment of a weekly exploration of Hanoi’s many districts. According to my friends at wikipedia, Hanoi has eight urban districts and ten rural districts. I’ll cover the urban ones first and if I still have momentum I might try to cover the rural ones too.
For our first mission, my friend Dave and I walked across the historic Long Bien Bridge into the district of the same name. It’s very close to city center, but feels like it’s many miles away. It’s much quieter and things tend to move at a slower pace here. I can see why it’s becoming more popular with ex-pats.
Anyway here’s what I saw…
I’ve been back in Vietnam for a few months now and have started to settle back down. The first thing I did when I returned, was go to Hoi An with my lovely girlfriend Hoang Anh. While there I got to shoot a genre I’ve never tried much before. Usually I like candid photos, but it was fun actually getting to set the shots up and scouting locations.
Look for some fresh shots of Hanoi very soon.