Flavors of Hanoi: Dong Da District.

The part of Dong Da we explored is all about heavy metal and hard work. Despite the  soul-crushing heat that day, most people we met there were very welcoming and were in great spirits. Here is what I saw…



A Walk Around my Neighborhood

Well my Flavors of Hanoi project has fallen victim to my changing work schedule. I should be able to get back on track this week now that things have started to settle down. In the mean time I was able to get a few shots from my neighborhood in Ba Dinh this morning.

Flavors of Hanoi- My Dinh District

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.

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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.

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Flavors of Hanoi- Long Bien District

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…

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Ao Dai in Hoi An

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.

My Journey Begins

After a long wait I’m finally on the road. Actually, I was on the road last week, but the fickle internet of Vietnam hasn’t let me check in until now. My trip should take me through more of Vietnam then the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Taiwan, and Japan, not necessarily in that order. Hopefully I’ll get a few good shots each week and give you an idea of what I see.

Here is what I have so far, from Hue and Hoi An.

Zeus Revisited

The other night HaNoi was given a hell of a show. There seemed to be flashes every two or three seconds. I’ve never shot lightening before so I thought this was a great chance. But by the time I got my tripod set up it had calmed quite a bit. Oh well, this is what I managed from my bedroom balcony.

Photo Duel: Dionysus

Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology.

I was taking refuge from the relentless sun of Ha Giang, when this god-man appeared from seemingly nowhere. Despite the heat and long uphill walk he had endured, he also managed to get pretty drunk. Now, I don’t think this man is actually Dionysus, but they’re probably related, or at least went to school together. Dionysus is into grape wines, but this guy is all about the rice wine, and insisted that I have some of his homebrew with him. That was the last thing I wanted but his powers were too strong, and I was at his mercy. But at one point he was distracted by something and I managed to escape with most of my sobriety after only a drink or two. Anyway he was a nice guy and that is the most impressive area of Vietnam I’ve been to with the most dramatic landscapes and nicest people.

The Other Side vs. Chasing Shadows